Switzerland reports €5.6bn in sanctioned Russian assets
The Swiss government has received notification of assets belonging to sanctioned Russian individuals worth €5.6 billion (5.75 billion Swiss francs), in the first indication of the scale of wealth parked in the country by rich Russians close to President Vladimir Putin.
The figure includes the value of properties in tourist areas, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs official Erwin Bollinger said at a press conference on Thursday. He did not give details of the individuals concerned, or information on whether the assets have been seized.
At the weekend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy singled out Switzerland as being a haven for wealth held by those he said were responsible for “unleashing” the invasion of his country. Following the decision to mirror European Union sanctions on Russians, the central government is relying on banks and cantonal authorities to report assets of sanctioned individuals that they are aware of.
UBS Group AG and Julius Baer Group Ltd have indicated they have lent money to some sanctioned individuals.
Last week the Swiss banking lobby estimated that the country’s banks may hold more than $200 billion of Russian wealth, a figure that dwarfs the official estimate. Switzerland’s light-touch approach has long lured wealthy Russians, but the business of managing money for the rich is drawing attention as Russia’s bloody war on its neighbour has drawn worldwide condemnation.
Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television on Thursday that the exposure of Swiss-based lenders to Russia was “very small.”
“You have always a certain reputational risk but I am convinced that everybody involved will look very carefully that all the sanctions are implemented in a correct way,” he said.
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