Poland may amend constitution in order to confiscate Russian assets

Piotr Mueller told a press briefing that the topic of the Monday's meeting between Mateusz Morawiecki and opposition leaders was a package of legal changes necessary to effectively enforce "various actions against Russia, against all entities related to Russia and those which will finance the war machine." Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Seizing the assets of Russian oligarchs and companies located in Poland requires changes to the constitution, the Polish government's spokesperson said after the prime minister's meeting with the opposition, where such possibility was discussed.

Piotr Mueller told a press briefing that the topic of the Monday's meeting between Mateusz Morawiecki and opposition leaders was a package of legal changes necessary to effectively enforce "various actions against Russia, against all entities related to Russia and those which will finance the war machine."

He said that during the debate questions arose as to whether there were legal possibilities to confiscate the assets of Russian oligarchs and companies located in Poland which support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"There is no such possibility in the Polish legal system. According to the Polish legal system, it is only possible to freeze this type of property, for example, by using the Act on Terrorist Threats, but there is no possibility to allow the forfeiture these assets to the State Treasury and then to use them to refinance the war damages caused by Russia," Mueller said.

"For this (confiscation - PAP), constitutional changes are necessary," he added.

Therefore, he said, the prime minister proposed during Monday's meeting a package requiring changes to the constitution, to allow for the possibility of confiscating the property of the Russian oligarchs.

Mueller also said that another topic discussed on Monday was the imposition of extra taxes on companies which continue activities in Russia.

"It can't be that those entities that do not have the courage to withdraw from financing the Russian regime are treated in the same way as those that have decided to take the responsible decision to stop operating in Russia," he said.

According to Mueller, an acceleration of military spending was also on the agenda of Monday's meeting, which he said was necessary "to be protected against Russia's actions which may, unfortunately, be extended to the territory of Poland and the Baltic states."

He said that the constitutional changes proposed by Morawiecki would enable the exclusion of military spending from the public debt.

"I hope that the draft changes to the constitution will be submitted to the Sejm (lower house - PAP) this week," Mueller said.