Russia Sanctions: ‘Switzerland is Part of the Problem’


British activist and financier Bill Browder has called on Switzerland to apply sanctions against Russia and align with European Union policy.

Browder also opposed the idea of returning the confiscated funds to sanctioned Russians involved in the Magnitsky affair. His goal is to isolate Russia financially from the rest of the world and “Switzerland is part of the problem”, he said in an interview with Swiss CH-media groupExternal link on Monday.

In February Browder accused the Swiss justice system of being “incapable of dealing with money laundering”. His comment came after Switzerland’s decision to return CHF14 million ($15.9 million) to three Russian individuals sanctioned in the United States and other Western countries.

+Swiss government refuses to confiscate Russian assets

Vladlen Stepanov, Denis Katsyv and Dmitry Klyuev are the protagonists of the infamous Magnitsky affair, which drew much criticism towards Switzerland. If the Swiss decide to hand back that money, “the country would find itself at the centre of an international crisis”, Browder warned.

Switzerland “must become part of the civilised world when it comes to financial matters”, he said. Browder was already successful in July, when, after his initiative, the US Helsinki Commission demanded the sanctioning of three Swiss citizens, including former Swiss attorney, Michael Lauber. 

However, the Swiss foreign ministry has rejected the US commission’s corruption accusations, saying that the “claims that Switzerland is doing less than other countries and that it is still harbouring funds from sanctioned individuals without freezing them are unfounded”.

Source : SWI