Switzerland reveals value of frozen Russian assets

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The sanctioned $8 billion is only a fraction of the money held by Russians in the country, the economy ministry says

The Swiss economy ministry announced on Thursday that it had frozen $7.94 billion (7.5 billion Swiss francs) worth of Russian assets as of November 25, 2022. This is apart from 15 properties belonging to Russia’s sanctioned legal entities and individuals.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has also revealed data on the amount of deposits declared by Russians.

“The sanctioned amount is only a fraction of all Russian assets in Switzerland,” Erwin Bollinger, SECO’s head of bilateral economic relations, told Bloomberg.

According to the report, a total of 123 Russian citizens or entities reported 7,548 “business relationships” to the body, accounting for $48.8 billion (46.1 billion francs) in assets.

“The frozen amounts can increase if, for example, new persons are added to the list or if new assets are identified,” the statement reads, adding that “they can fall if assets that were frozen as a precautionary measure have to be released again once clarifications have been completed.”

Switzerland joined EU countries in imposing several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. In August, Bern froze assets belonging to Russia’s Sberbank and banned trade in gold products with Moscow. In March, the Kremlin put Switzerland on a list of hostile countries, which includes EU members and other states.

In October, Fabian Maienfisch, a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, said that Switzerland didn’t support Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s request to hand over frozen Russian assets to Kiev.

Both the EU and US authorities are currently working on confiscating Russian assets frozen by the Ukraine-related sanctions, trying to find ways to make the seizures legal. 

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