Switzerland has been accused of not seeking the assets of Russian oligarchs
Two months after the announcement of the European sanctions, Bern is suspected of bad faith. Because the seizures of assets of wealthy Russians in Switzerland remain very modest.
This is a staggering figure that drives people crazy, experts say. According to the Swiss Bankers Association, the amount of savings of Russian oligarchs hidden in Switzerland ranges from 150 to 200 billion Swiss Francs (143 to 190 billion euros), deposits and assets are mixed.
«If the Swiss bankers admit it, we can easily double the amount of sanctions and seizures», – says Anglo-American banker Bill Browder, who for ten years followed the financial frauds of the Kremlin and Putin’s henchmen after being robbed in Russia. In addition, his Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in prison in Moscow.
This man spoke last week before a Committee of the US Congress. According to him, it is urgent to clarify the role of Switzerland, «known for a long time as a place where war criminals and kleptocrats hide their prey, and which is the main ally of the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his henchmen».
The exchange of views quickly turned into a direct accusation of Bern for allegedly ignoring sanctions against Russia. For now, only 7.5 billion Swiss Francs (7.15 billion euros) are frozen. «There is really something wrong in Switzerland», – Bill Browder is indignant.
In Bern, the Federal Council (government) immediately denounced «politically unacceptable accusations» and the current president, Foreign Minister Ignazio cassis, conveyed his «indignation» to the US state Department. According to government spokesman André Simonazzi, Switzerland applies international standards and mechanisms for money laundering and tax evasion.