War in Ukraine: No task force to track down Russian money

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The center derailed the project because it rejected the idea of ​​confiscating Russian assets. In fact, very few Russians were affected by the sanctions, noted Guy Parmelin.

For Baptiste Horney, “It is enough to quote these numbers to understand that we have a problem.”

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The Socialist Party, the Greens and the Greens failed on Thursday in their desire to put together a task force to more effectively track the money the Russian oligarchs have put into Switzerland. He missed the votes of the center that agreed to form this task force, but he couldn’t follow the left in the idea of ​​confiscating some’s assets, which goes against our rule of law.

6 billion out of 200 billion

“Hide these billions I can’t see…” It was by paraphrasing Tartuffe de Molière, National Assemblyman Baptiste Horney (PS/NE) denouncing Switzerland’s hypocrisy in enforcing sanctions against Russia. He noted that according to the Swiss Banking Association, 200 billion francs of Russian money will be deposited in Switzerland and that only 6 billion is currently prohibited: “It is enough to quote these numbers to understand that we have a problem. We are not effectively implementing the sanctions that we ourselves have taken against Mr. Putin’s criminal regime.”

Waiting for the end of the war?

Addressing Federal Chancellor Guy Parmelin, he added, “You say you learned about the creation of a multilateral task force of Russian elites, proxies and oligarchs (REPO) and examined whether Switzerland could participate in it. What are we really waiting for to join in? Is there not a single franc left to seize? All assets have disappeared in the obstacles of international financing mechanisms? That the war is over?”

Very few Russians face sanctions

Guy Parmelin replied: “As for these 150 to 200 billion francs, I think they constitute the fortunes, the assets of the Russian people in Switzerland. We must indeed be careful in the interpretation. There are very few Russians with assets in Switzerland that are subject to sanctions. We should We avoid at all costs to compare, forgive me this frivolous expression, apples and pears.What is forbidden is a dead end, must be done, traces follow.

new challenges

For the member of the Federal Council, sanctions in the context of the war in Ukraine present his services with “partly new challenges”, given the extent and speed of the sanctions with which they must be applied. But the Federal Council is convinced that Switzerland is at the forefront when it comes to implementing sanctions. Coordination between the various federal authorities is well established. Inform companies, banks and authorities of the implementation of sanctions. (…) For this reason, the Federal Council considers that it is not necessary at present to form a working group.

No new regulatory body

Both the PLR ​​and the UDC opposed the socialist movement. For Beat Walti (PLR/ZH): “Switzerland needs effective enforcement of sanctions in the private and public sectors, banks, financial service providers, lawyers and all actors who may be involved with these funds. Effective coordination is currently in place at the state level and we call on the Federal Council To continue on this path. We must not create a new regulatory body, which will take time and not help us to be more efficient.” Same story in UDC with Gregor Rutz (UDC/ZH): “Our country is a state of law, and the security of law is guaranteed there.”

“The Federal Council is very negative”

On this question of “security of law”, the Center sided with the bourgeois camp to reject the proposal. However, Philipp Matthias Prigge (C/VS) shared the left’s note: “The Federal Council is very passive, he said. We cannot simply issue sanctions, we must apply them, locate and prevent assets. We ask the Federal Council to be proactive. But we oppose expropriation Assets that were not acquired illegally, which is why we oppose the proposal. If the Federal Council does not move forward, we will make another proposal, but without the point. “

opaque financial service providers

Finally, for Jürg Grossen (VL/BE): “We lost valuable time that allowed some to get around the penalties. This shows that Switzerland is very waiting and watching with a somewhat uncooperative attitude, preferring instead to ignore what is happening. The financial flows financing Putin’s war must be stopped as soon as possible. There is no doubt that the banks are doing their job, but Switzerland has many other providers of financial services, whose work lacks transparency.”

Upon vote, the motion was rejected by 103 votes to 78. A second motion by the Green Party, which called for the establishment of a supervisory authority for Switzerland’s commodity trading sector, was also rejected by 103 votes in 80.

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