(MENAFN) Switzerland has reported a provisional estimate of approximately 7.7 billion Swiss francs (USD8.81 billion) in frozen Russian assets within its financial institutions, marking an increase from the 7.5 billion francs reported last year, according to the national agency overseeing sanctions. This estimate encompasses various assets, including properties, luxury cars, profits from cash deposits, bonds, and shares linked to sanctioned Russians. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) highlighted the challenges in providing precise figures due to the dynamic nature of sanctions lists, with about 300 individuals and 100 companies newly sanctioned in the past year. Additionally, ongoing court proceedings related to asset freezing or unlocking contribute to the complexity of the overall picture.
The frozen assets, although a substantial amount, represent only a fraction of the total funds held by Russians in Switzerland, which the Swiss Bankers Association estimates to be around 150 billion francs. Notably, Swiss banks also hold 7.4 billion francs in foreign currency assets belonging to the Russian central bank. Despite being a neutral state and not an European Union member, Switzerland has supported the Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the West on Russia. The Swiss government has closely monitored European Union discussions regarding the potential use of frozen Russian assets to aid Ukraine, but has not yet announced plans to implement such measures. Swiss bankers caution that such actions may risk violating national laws and undermine Switzerland's reputation as a global financial center. As sanctions persist, Switzerland grapples with the intricate challenges posed by managing and assessing the scope of frozen Russian assets within its financial landscape.
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