The Swiss Info news site mentioned that Swiss banking circles fear that the country’s reputation as a global financial center will suffer if measures are taken to confiscate frozen Russian assets due to the Ukrainian crisis.
“The idea of arresting funds frozen in Swiss accounts of sanctioned persons has been around for a long time and is the subject of discussion,” the site notes on Friday. The site states that “Swiss banking circles are concerned that the actual violation of property rights could be the beginning of the end for Switzerland as an international financial center.”
Swiss Info draws attention to the fact that Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told the media on Friday in response to a question about the possible confiscation of Russian assets: “The right to property is a fundamental value, and this right is as important as freedom of speech. Theoretically, fines can be applied, but we need to think about how to do this without sliding into the Middle Ages.
The website states that “Cassis hides the fact that Switzerland is currently under a lot of pressure to transfer frozen Russian funds to Kyiv. The Foreign Minister did not rule out that a referendum may be required to resolve this issue. “Switzerland will have to make serious legal amendments,” the minister said. “Perhaps this will be the last word of the people.”
The portal indicated that Russian assets worth 7.5 billion francs (about $8.1 billion) and 15 real estate plots are prohibited in Switzerland. The sanctions list includes 1,368 individuals and 171 companies and organizations. Earlier, the majority of parliamentarians rejected the initiative of the Swiss Social Democratic Party to confiscate the property of citizens of Russia and Belarus included in the list, as 108 parliamentarians voted against the withdrawal of money from their owners, and 78 voted for the withdrawal. A group of specialists was formed to study the legal aspects of a possible confiscation. On Thursday, the Federal Police Department said it would present its opinion to the government in the coming weeks.
Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union, despite its neutral status, supported the EU sanctions against Moscow imposed in connection with the events in Ukraine. In March 2022, the Russian government approved a list of foreign countries and territories that commit unfriendly actions against Russia, its companies and citizens. The Swiss Confederation is included in this list.
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