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Russians have up to $213 billion stashed offshore in Swiss banks

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland’s secre­tive banks main­tain up to $213 bil­lion of Russian wealth, the nation’s mon­e­tary busi­ness affil­i­a­tion esti­mates, as sanc­tions on Russia give a uncom­mon glimpse inside Swiss vaults.

The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) esti­mat­ed that the banks main­tain between 150 bil­lion and 200 bil­lion Swiss francs ($213 bil­lion) of Russian con­sumer cash in off­shore accounts.

This sig­ni­fies that the extent of rich Russians’ enter­prise with banks in Switzerland, the world’s great­est cen­tre for off­shore wealth, is way extra in depth than the on-bal­ance sheet expo­sures a num­ber of of its mon­e­tary cor­po­ra­tions have begun to element.

The SBA’s rev­e­la­tion is uncom­mon for Switzerland, which has stone-walled many ear­li­er trans­paren­cy requests, and comes because it took the weird step of mak­ing use of European Union sanc­tions to Russian mon­ey fol­low­ing Moscow’s inva­sion of Ukraine final month.

There is ris­ing Swiss pub­lic debate about its func­tion, with Mattea Meyer, co-pres­i­dent of the Social Democrats, call­ing for Switzerland to clamp down on any mon­ey belong­ing to Russians shut to President Vladimir Putin and his authorities.

Part belongs to oli­garchs loy­al to the Kremlin. The cash and their exer­cise … helps finance the strug­gle,” she stat­ed, includ­ing that Switzerland “should do every lit­tle thing poten­tial to flip off the cash faucets”.

The SBA esti­mate, which dwarfs pre­lim­i­nary indi­ca­tions of the cred­it score pub­lic­i­ty to Russia, makes clear the dimen­sions of the duty of impos­ing sanc­tions, sim­i­lar to by freez­ing the money.

The Swiss eco­nom­ic sys­tem min­istry stat­ed that it had no sig­nif­i­cant esti­mates on frozen Russian belong­ings because it tal­lies sto­ries from banks deal­ing with a ris­ing Swiss sanc­tions record.

Despite its Russian tal­ly esti­mate, the SBA bur­dened that this was small in con­trast to gen­er­al belong­ings held in Switzerland, which has been regard­ed by gen­er­a­tions of rich peo­ple from world wide as a pro­tect­ed haven for his or her cash.

The share of belong­ings held for Russian pur­chasers prob­a­bly accounts for a share in the low sin­gle-dig­it share vary of the whole cross-bor­der belong­ings deposit­ed with Swiss banks,” it stat­ed in an emailed asser­tion to Reuters on Wednesday, refer­ring to cash held for pur­chasers resid­ing overseas.


As Western gov­ern­ments unleash a ris­ing record of sanc­tions in response to Russia’s inva­sion, banks are see­ing their enter­prise with Russian pur­chasers scru­ti­nized far past the loans they have grant­ed or enter­prise achieved out of Russian sub­sidiaries that would lead to sta­bil­i­ty sheet losses.

Analysts have stat­ed direct Swiss finan­cial insti­tu­tion expo­sures to Russian pur­chasers look man­age­able, based most­ly on what has been made public.

Switzerland’s two great­est banks final week detailed “restrict­ed” expo­sures to Russia, with the most impor­tant UBS say­ing a $634 mil­lion direct pub­lic­i­ty had been low­er since year-end.

Credit Suisse Chief Executive Thomas Gottstein on Tuesday stat­ed some 4% of the belong­ings Switzerland’s sec­ond-biggest finan­cial insti­tu­tion man­ages for rich pur­chasers belong to Russians, amount­ing to tens of bil­lions of {dol­lars}.

That is way high­er than the 848 mil­lion Swiss franc web cred­it score pub­lic­i­ty in Credit Suisse’s annu­al report.

While the finan­cial insti­tu­tion has not offered an up to date tal­ly, it man­aged 827 bil­lion francs in its wealth admin­is­tra­tion com­pa­nies at end-2021, so 4% would quan­ti­ty to some 33 bil­lion Swiss francs in belong­ings relat­ed to Russian prospects.

UBS and Switzerland’s third-largest list­ed lender, Julius Baer, have declined to ele­ment belong­ings they main­tain for Russian prospects, how­ev­er UBS CEO Ralph Hamers indi­cat­ed sanc­tions have been pre­serv­ing the nation’s great­est finan­cial insti­tu­tion busy.

New lists come out each night time,” he stat­ed, includ­ing that UBS was try­ing to defend not sole­ly in oppo­si­tion to present com­pli­ance but addi­tion­al­ly in oppo­si­tion to the chance of future penalties.

($1 = 0.9395 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Oliver Hirt; Additional report­ing by Michael Shields; Editing by John O’Donnell and Alexander Smith)

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