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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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