Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Switzerland Freezes Russian Assets worth $7.9 Billion

Fri 02 Dec 2022 | 08:03 AM
Taarek Refaat

Switzerland has so far frozen Russian assets totaling 7.5 billion Swiss francs ($7.9 billion), in a move linked to the sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

This figure, which has been changing for months, is almost a billion francs more than that announced by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in July.

The Secretariat for Economic Affairs said that Switzerland, which is a favorite destination for wealthy Russians and their assets, has confiscated 15 Russian-owned units.

Erwin Bollinger, who is in charge of bilateral economic relations at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, said that the amount frozen at any given time does not necessarily reflect “the effectiveness of the sanctions.”

This is due to the fact that the Swiss authorities seeking to implement the series of sanctions imposed on Russia sometimes freeze assets as a precautionary measure, and they can be released later once clarifications are completed.

Four days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, traditionally neutral Switzerland decided to comply with the sanctions imposed by neighboring European Union countries on Moscow, and required banks to hand over data on targeted customers or companies.

Similar to the situation in their EU counterparts, Swiss banks are prohibited from accepting deposits of more than CHF100,000 from Russian citizens or Russian-based persons or entities. It has been directed to declare all funds deposited in excess of this amount.

In total, 46.1 billion francs of this type of deposit were announced, but the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs stressed that this “cannot be equated with the total funds of Russian origin seized in Switzerland.”