This article analyses those hurdles, which are different for privately owned property such as oligarch yachts and state property such as bank deposits belonging to Russia’s Central Bank. It focuses on US and international law, on the assumption that the countries in the West that have sanctioned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine face similar constraints and would follow the US lead on seizing frozen assets. Current US law permits the civil forfeiture of private property traceable to criminal activity such as money laundering and fraud, but not the seizure of state property except during an armed conflict with that state. Under international law, new legislation permitting the seizure of Russian state assets probably would incur an obligation to pay compensation when the dispute ultimately settles, but an exception may exist for property used to satisfy awards made by international tribunals based on Russia’s treaty commitments.

Paul B. Stephan, Seizing Russian Assets, 17 Capital Markets Law Journal, 276–287 (2022).