Friday, May 24, 2024

Ukraine War: Russian assets frozen by Switzerland shrink

The volume of Russian assets frozen in Switzerland due to sanctions following the onset of the war in Ukraine has shrunk.

• April 23, 2024
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

The volume of Russian assets frozen in Switzerland due to sanctions following the onset of the war in Ukraine has shrunk.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) reported the news on Tuesday.

This was mainly due to the loss in value of investments following share price declines and exchange rate fluctuations.

The volume fell from 7.5 billion Swiss francs to 5.8 billion Swiss francs within a year by the end of 2023.

Investigations into funds worth 140 million francs revealed that the legal requirements for a freeze weren’t met in those cases.

Over the course of the past year, a further 580 million francs were frozen.

A total of 17 properties, as well as works of art, instruments, sports, and luxury vehicles, were also currently frozen.

Switzerland has been criticised because experts had suspected that a lot more money was held there by Russian oligarchs close to the Moscow government.

The Swiss Bankers Association estimated the total amount of assets held by Russian clients in 2022 at 150 to 200 billion francs.

However, most of these belonged to people and companies unaffected by sanctions, SECO emphasised.

Switzerland adopted all of the European Union’s sanctions packages. Despite its neutrality, it decided to do so after the Russian attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

SECO does not believe that large sums belonging to sanctioned persons or companies in Switzerland were still undiscovered.

But, it is possible that further assets would have been blocked in the event of new sanctions.

This involves monitoring the discussions in Europe and the US regarding the possible use of the interest accrued on this in favour of Ukraine.

However, the situation is legally complicated because the funds are held in commercial bank accounts in Switzerland.


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