Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov labelled the freezing of the country's diplomatic bank accounts by Belgium "a crude violation of the norms of International law" during an interview at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF 2015), Thursday. Alexander Konovalov made the statement after several bank accounts belonging to Russian diplomatic missions were frozen on Wednesday. They were later unblocked by authorities because of their diplomatic status. The move came after Belgian bailiffs, acting on a court order, sent out letters demanding knowledge of Russian state-owned assets ahead of potential seizures, saying they must reveal any Russian state assets within 15 days. The bailiffs were reportedly acting at the behest of the Isle of Man-based Yukos Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the Russian energy giant, dismantled in 2007. Calling the process politicized, Russian presidential aide Andrey Belousov said Thursday that Russia will appeal the court's arrest of Russian property. Yukos Universal Limited was awarded €1.6 billion ($1,8 billion) in damages by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July 2014, as part of a total settlement for approximately €44 billion ($50 billion), that the court ruled was owed to its former shareholders and management.
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