Over a third of the assets reported in Switzerland with links to Russia are at Credit Suisse. This includes funds from sanctioned persons, but not exclusively.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Swiss federal government has frozen assets of those with links to Russia and Belarus in Switzerland worth more than 7.5 billion francs ($8.1 billion). In addition, 15 properties were seized as a result of the adoption of EU sanctions.
Local banks are required to report deposits of non-sanctioned Russians of 100,000 francs or more to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) and have pledged not to accept any more client funds above that amount.
Not Only Sanctioned Persons
According to Seco, around 7,500 business relationships and a total of 46.1 billion francs with a connection to Russia had been reported by mid-November.
Credit Suisse has frozen Russian assets of 17.6 billion francs, according to a report in the «Sonntagszeitung» (in German, behind paywall), corresponding to over a third of all reported Russian assets in Switzerland.
Vekselberg Without Access
Only about 4 billion francs of Russian assets at Credit Suisse assets originate from people on the sanctions list, according to the newspaper.
The remaining 13.6 billion francs are said to be partly from people such as Viktor Vekselberg, who has an account with Credit Suisse but cannot access it because of other sanctions.
UBS Less Affected
Funds of the Russian Central Bank or the Russian state could be affected, which are not sanctioned but de facto frozen.
At UBS, which is twice the size of Credit Suisse, the share of Russian funds affected amounts to 0.3 percent of invested assets in Global Wealth Management, according to a UBS spokeswoman. That percentage corresponds to $7.5 billion of assets. For the fourth quarter just ended, UBS no longer reported the share. However, it is likely to be lower than in the previous quarter.
Josef Ackermann Criticism
Recently, Josef Ackermann lent his voice to the discussion about Switzerland’s sanctions against Russia. He criticized Switzerland for allowing itself to be influenced too strongly by the interests of Brussels and Washington in its dealings with Russian assets. These interests are not congruent with those of Switzerland, he said.
Ackermann saw the rule of law and property rights at risk if Switzerland held individual citizens or Russian oligarchs generally responsible for the policies of the Russian government.
Devastating for the Financial Industry
According to Ackermann, confiscation of assets is a devastating step for the Swiss financial industry. In the future, citizens of other countries would have to expect that Switzerland would take similar action if other governments did something questionable under international law.
Source : Finews