Switzerland says it knows of $48.5 billion in Russian assets

Dec 1, 2022, 3:58 AM | Updated: 4:17 am

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss authorities said Thursday that they have been notified of 46.1 billion francs ($48.5 billion) in assets held by Russian nationals and entities in the Alpine country since sanctions were introduced earlier this year.

Switzerland, which isn’t a European Union member but has close relations with the 27-member bloc, applied EU sanctions against Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Among the measures, it has been forbidden since shortly after the war began to accept deposits of more than 100,000 francs from Russian citizens or entities — companies or organizations. Existing deposits above that level had to be reported to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs by early June.

The secretariat said that 123 people or entities in Switzerland reported 7,548 “business relationships” with a total value of 46.1 billion francs. A further 294 “business relationships” with Russia’s close ally, Belarus, were worth 400 million francs.

People who are citizens of Switzerland or a country in the European Economic Area, or who hold a temporary or permanent residence permit from one of those countries, are exempt both from the ban on new deposits and the reporting requirement. Deposits under 100,000 francs also don’t have to be reported.

The secretariat stressed that “the level of reported deposits … can therefore not be equated with the total amount of funds of Russian origin held in Switzerland.”

The total amount frozen in Switzerland under sanctions stood at 7.5 billion francs in financial assets and 15 properties as of Nov. 25. Those are assets owned or controlled directly by people, companies and organizations subject to sanctions related to the war in Ukraine.

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Switzerland says it knows of $48.5 billion in Russian assets