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EU-wide operation targeting criminal assets in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Operation Oscar to sup­port the freez­ing of crim­i­nal assets owned by EU-sanc­tioned indi­vid­u­als and entities

Today, 11 April 2022, Europol, joint­ly with EU Member States, Eurojust and Frontex, launched Operation Oscar to sup­port finan­cial inves­ti­ga­tions by EU Member States tar­get­ing crim­i­nal assets owned by indi­vid­u­als and legal enti­ties sanc­tioned in rela­tion to the Russian inva­sion of Ukraine. Operation Oscar will also aim to sup­port crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions by Member States in rela­tion to the cir­cum­ven­tion of EU-imposed trade and eco­nom­ic sanc­tions. Similar to oper­a­tion Sentinel, which tar­gets fraud against COVID-19 EU recov­ery funds, Operation Oscar is an umbrel­la oper­a­tion that will con­tin­ue for a peri­od of at least one year and include a num­ber of sep­a­rate investigations. 

In the frame­work of Operation Oscar, ini­ti­at­ed by Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre, Europol will facil­i­tate part­ners’ exchange of infor­ma­tion and intel­li­gence and pro­vide oper­a­tional sup­port in a num­ber of finan­cial inves­ti­ga­tions tar­get­ing crim­i­nal assets and cir­cum­ven­tion of the EU eco­nom­ic sanc­tions relat­ed to the Russia’s mil­i­tary aggres­sion towards Ukraine. Europol will cen­tralise and analyse all infor­ma­tion con­tributed under this oper­a­tion to iden­ti­fy inter­na­tion­al links, crim­i­nal groups and sus­pects, as well as new crim­i­nal trends and pat­terns. Europol will fur­ther pro­vide tai­lor-made ana­lyt­i­cal sup­port to inves­ti­ga­tions, as well as oper­a­tional coor­di­na­tion, foren­sics and tech­ni­cal exper­tise, and finan­cial sup­port to the rel­e­vant nation­al authorities. 

Eurojust will be active­ly involved with the oper­a­tion through the exchange of strate­gic and oper­a­tional infor­ma­tion. Eurojust will fur­ther­more pro­vide legal assis­tance and sup­port and strength­en coop­er­a­tion between nation­al inves­ti­gat­ing and judi­cial authorities.

Frontex will con­tribute to the oper­a­tion by enhanc­ing the scruti­ny of the per­sons who are cross­ing EU’s exter­nal bor­ders and fall under the scope of the sanc­tions. Taking advan­tage of the large spec­trum of the oper­a­tional activ­i­ties of Frontex, the task will be imple­ment­ed in the all their domains – land, sea and air.

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