Monday, 29 May 2023 01:32 GMT

Switzerland Defends Its Sanctions Track Record Against Russia

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Helen Budliger Artieda took up the post as State Secretariat for Economic Affairs last August. © Keystone/susanne Goldschmid

Swiss Secretary for Economic Affairs Helen Budliger Artieda has rejected criticism that Switzerland isn't doing enough to freeze Russian assets under the sanctions' regime.

This content was published on May 26, 2023 May 26, 2023 AargauerZeitung/jdp
  • Pусский (ru) «швейцария проверяет даже брачные договоры русских олигархов»

“It is a major challenge for our sanctions teams to find out who is the beneficial owner of any company construct,” said Artieda, who heads the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), in an interviewexternal link published in the Aargauer Zeitung on Friday. Marriage contracts and divorce certifications are even consulted, she added.

The Swiss Bankers Association claimed that there were CHF150 billion in Russian assets in Switzerland. But Artieda said that this number“has not been confirmed by us or other governments. In short: Seco freezes all assets that it has to freeze.”

+ g7 criticises loopholes in sanctions implementation

Switzerland has faced criticism that it isn't doing enough to freeze Russian assets and implement the sanctions effectively. In April, G7 Ambassadors in Bern sent a letter, criticising“loopholes” that allow Russian assets to evade sanctions in Switzerland. They also urged the country to join an international taskforce to freeze and seize Russian assets.

To this, Artieda responded that Switzerland is not a member of the G7 and that it is already involved with the taskforce at a technical level, which is“what counts” and“works well”.

“Should membership be in Switzerland's interest in the future, the Federal Council could reassess the situation,” said Artieda.

A key concern, she added, is that Switzerland isn't used as a“bypass platform” and emphasised EU regulation that prohibits lawyers from providing asset management services to sanctioned individuals.


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