Ukraine: Decrease in the value of Russian assets frozen in Switzerland

Bern, 23.04.2024 - The value of financial assets frozen in relation to sanctions against Russia was CHF 5.8 billion on 31 December 2023. This is CHF 1.7 billion lower than the figure reported for December 2022. The decrease is due to valuation losses on securities. In addition, 17 properties in 7 cantons have now been blocked.

In response to Russia's military aggression in Ukraine, the Federal Council decided on 28 February 2022 to adopt the EU sanctions against Russia, thereby strengthening their impact. All funds and economic resources directly or indirectly owned or controlled by the individuals or entities listed in Annex 8 to the Ordinance on Measures Relating to the Situation in Ukraine must be frozen and reported to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). These funds and economic resources cannot be accessed. As at 31 December 2023, a total of CHF 5.8 billion in financial assets and 17 properties of sanctioned individuals or entities were frozen in Switzerland.

For the purposes of monitoring compliance with the financial sanctions, SECO receives updated data from financial intermediaries on an annual basis. The latest figures show that the value of frozen financial assets has fallen by CHF 1.7 billion compared to December 2022. The decrease is explained by a loss in value of certain blocked assets – particularly securities related to Russia – as a result of international sanctions. This was partially offset by revaluation gains of CHF 280 million.

In the reporting period, SECO froze a further CHF 580 million in financial assets, following its own investigations and detailed clarifications by banks. It also blocked two more real estate properties in Switzerland. Apart from the now 17 properties frozen, other assets such as sports and luxury vehicles, works of art, furniture and musical instruments held by sanctioned individuals and entities in Switzerland have been blocked.

Assets worth CHF 140 million which had previously been blocked as a precautionary measure were released after further investigations found the legal requirements for their freezing were not met. To a lesser extent, the total value of assets frozen was also affected by individuals or entities being removed from (-CHF 150 million) or added to (+CHF 50 million) the EU sanctions list, which Switzerland also adopted throughout the year.

The amount of frozen assets is distinct from the reserves and assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation held in Switzerland, worth some CHF 7.24 billion at current exchange rates. Since 25 March 2022, the Russian central bank's reserves and assets have been immobilised, i.e. all transactions associated with their management are prohibited. The obligation to report these reserves and assets on a quarterly basis will remain in place.

The value of frozen assets or of the Russian central bank's immobilised assets is not a direct indicator of the extent to which sanctions are being implemented. It is a snapshot in time. The cumulative value may fluctuate in either direction, notably as a result of valuation changes on frozen securities, bank charges and exchange rate movements.

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State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
Holzikofenweg 36
CH-3003 Bern
Tel. +41 58 462 56 56


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Last modification 19.12.2023

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