WEF Ordered Russian Ban On Owning Foreign Property?!

Did the WEF order governments in Europe to ban Russians from owning foreign property?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : WEF Ordered Russian Ban On Owning Foreign Property!

People are sharing an article (archive) by The People’s Voice (formerly NewsPunch), which claimed that the WEF order governments in Europe to ban Russians from owning foreign property!

Here is an excerpt from the article, which is long and (intentionally?) rambling. Feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!

WEF Orders Govt’s To Ban ALL Russians From Owning Property

The World Economic Forum has ordered government’s in Europe to completely ban all Russians from purchasing or owning properties outside of Russia.

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WEF Did Not Order Russian Ban On Owning Foreign Property!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created / promoted by The People’s Voice, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : WEF Did Not Order Russian Ban On Owning Foreign Property

Let me start by pointing out that the World Economic Forum (WEF) did not order any foreign government to ban all Russians from purchasing or owning foreign property outside of Russia.

There is also no such WEF policy, new or old, of “completely banning Russian citizens from owning real estate” in countries outside of Russia. The People’s Voice article certainly offered no evidence to back up its “fact checked” claim.

The World Economic Forum is a non-governmental organisation (NGO), and has no power over governments. It can lobby governments, but it cannot decide on their policies, or order them to do anything.

Fact #2 : Finland Is Still Working On Russian Property Ban

The People’s Voice article claimed that Finland is the first EU nation to implement the WEF policy of banning Russian citizens from owning foreign real estate. That’s simply not true.

In fact, it undermined its own claim by quoting Finland Defence Minister Antti Hakkanen, who said that the Finnish government was “assessing the possibility of a complete ban on real estate acquisition by Russians“, and that the working group is expected to “devise the legislation by March 31, 2024“.

To be clear – Finland has not implemented any such ban on ownership or purchase of property by Russian citizens.

Even when the legislation is finalised, it has to be voted on by the Parliament of Finland, and can only be implemented if it passes with a majority vote.

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Fact #3 : Finland Property Restrictions Started In 2020

Finland’s decision to restrict Russian ownership and/or rental of real estate did not begin with the recent World Economic Forum‘s 2024 annual meeting.

Finland actually started restricting foreign property ownership in 2020, for non-EU citizens. Since then, any non-EU citizen who wishes to purchase real estate in Finland must obtain a special licence from the Ministry of Defence.

But after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Finland further tightened control of its real estate, with legislative amendments that give authorities broader powers to cancel real estate transactions that are necessary to protect national security.

Finland used existing legislation to block three real estate deals with Russian buyers on 10 January 2024.

Fact #3 : Finland Property Restrictions Extend Beyond Russians

What The People’s Voice article does not tell you is that Finland requires permits for the sale of real estate to “persons and companies outside the EU and the EEA (European Economic Area).

In other words – Finland isn’t just targeting Russian citizens. Its restrictions on real estate transactions extend to other foreigners and foreign corporations as well, since 2020.

On 4 November 2022, the Finland Ministry of Defence announced the creation of a special group to explore additional restrictions on real estate transactions for citizens of countries outside the EEA, including their complete ban.

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Fact #5 : Russian Property To Be Confiscated For Non-Payment

The People’s Voice article also does not tell you that Finland has proposed making it easier to confiscate property owned by Russian citizens, because many have not been paying their fees and taxes.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union imposed banking and payment sanctions that have made it difficult for Russian citizens to make payments on their real estate in Finland. In particular, unpaid maintenance fees and other expenses have led to problems in Finnish condominiums.

We cannot remain in this kind of everlasting stalemate in these cases just because we cannot get a certain notification delivered through official channels.

– Finnish Justice Minister Leena Meri

Currently, Russian property owners in Finland cannot be legally ousted for unpaid bills unless an official notification threatening confiscation can be physically delivered to them. The amended rules would allow electronic notifications to suffice.

Fact #6 : The People’s Voice Is Known For Publishing Fake News

The People’s Voice is the current name for NewsPunch, which possibly changed its name because its brand has been so thoroughly discredited after posting numerous shocking but fake stories.

Founded as Your News Wire in 2014, it was rebranded as NewsPunch in November 2018, before becoming The People’s Voice. A 2017 BuzzFeed report identified NewsPunch as the second-largest source of popular fake news on Facebook that year.

Its articles have been regularly debunked as fake news, so you should never share anything from NewsPunch / The People’s Voice.  Here are some of its fake stories that I fact checked earlier:

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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