Switzerland news: Growing Russian interest in Swiss financial sector

Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports on growing interest from Russians in placing their funds in Switzerland.

In its first paragraph the NZZ article says that although Switzerland does not apply EU sanctions on Russia directly, it does not want to become a host to evasive actions, and has forbidden financial sector business relationships with clients who are on the EU’s blacklist.

However, according to the managers of the Omega Finance Group quoted in the NZZ article, in recent times there has been “considerable interest from Russian persons in setting up financial companies in Switzerland”. Seven lawyers have reported that 63 companies of this type are being planned, worth a total 180 million Swiss francs (148 million euros).

“The main purpose of company formation is typically in depositing funds in Swiss banks, as Russian clients are partially no longer desirable in EU banks, even if they are not themselves on EU sanctions lists.”

For the full article, which does not mention Ukraine, please see here (in German). It concludes that although the total amount of new Russian assets is negligible relative to the size of the Swiss financial sector “…any noticeable increase in Russian assets in Switzerland during the current EU sanctions regime…would not necessarily be perceived as politically timely”.

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