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Switzerland steps up fight against evasion of sanctions against Russia

Feb 21, 2024

Switzerland is stepping up its fight against companies and individuals who use the country to circumvent sanctions imposed on Russia for its war in Ukraine.


This was reported by Reuters, according to Ukrinform.

As noted, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has set up a special group to investigate and enforce the sanctions that the country imposed after Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

The move comes after Switzerland came under criticism last year for not doing enough to prevent Russians from hiding money in Swiss banks.

As of the end of 2023, assets worth about 7.7 billion Swiss francs (over $8.7 billion) had been frozen, a fraction of the 150 billion francs (over $170 billion) of Russian money estimated to be held in Swiss banks.

SECO reported on Wednesday that since the invasion, it has received 230 reports of potential sanctions violations based on tips from financial companies, customs authorities, and other countries. As a result, 47 proceedings were opened, of which 20 cases were closed, and financial penalties were imposed in nine. According to SECO, 18 cases are still active, and new ones are being added to them regularly.

Most of the cases concern violations of the ban on the export of luxury goods or goods of economic importance to Russia that could support Moscow's military efforts, the SECO spokesman said.

While SECO conducts simpler investigations, more complex cases are referred to the Swiss Attorney General's Office, which last week said it was investigating possible violations.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 22/02/2024

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