The US is very pleased with the efforts Switzerland has made so far to find the funds from Russians sanctioned after the Russian attack on Ukraine. The US Ambassador to Switzerland, Scott Miller, assured this in an interview published on Thursday in the newspaper “Le Temps”.
In his opinion, Switzerland has made “immense progress”: “We respect Switzerland’s role in the sanctions… It’s a package of sanctions of a size and scope that the world, to be honest, has never seen before Has.”
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Not long ago it sounded different
By May 12, Switzerland had blocked Russian funds totaling 6.3 billion francs, according to Erwin Bollinger, head of the Bilateral Economic Relations department at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). At the beginning of April, that amount had stood at 7.5 billion francs, but 3.4 billion francs that had been frozen too quickly had been returned. Another 2.2 billion francs were found between these two dates.
Earlier in May, Bill Bowder, an expert on the US Congress and US government’s Helsinki Committee, accused Switzerland of showing a lack of zeal in chasing down Russian assets. He called on the US to reconsider the framework for its cooperation with Bern.
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Helsinki Commission is suddenly no longer important
US Ambassador Scott Miller gave a reassuring comment in the “Le Temps” interview. “The Helsinki Commission is an independent commission that has no constitutional powers and is not a government body.” The people who spoke there did not represent the official position of the government of US President Joe Biden.
In an interview with the NZZ in early April, Miller called on Swiss banks to look more actively for Russian oligarch money. Banks that did not cooperate would have to reckon with negative consequences. (SDA)