Wow much money do Russians hoard at banks in Switzerland? There is now an official answer to this frequently asked question, but it is not entirely complete. According to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in Bern, deposits by Russian nationals total CHF 46.1 billion. Behind it are 7548 account connections. This sum, which was mentioned for the first time, should not be confused with those assets that have been blocked as a result of the EU sanctions against minions of the Kremlin, which Switzerland adopted.
As of November 25, SECO put the blocked Russian assets at CHF 7.5 billion. That is CHF 0.8 billion more than the last report in July. The figures given are based on the mandatory reports from Swiss banks and asset managers. In addition, 15 properties belonging to sanctioned Russians have been blocked in six cantons.
In wealth management, Switzerland is one of the leading places in the world. The sums mentioned are therefore not surprising. They even underestimate the actual situation: SECO emphasizes that the amount of the reported deposits cannot be equated with the amount of all funds of Russian origin held in Switzerland. According to an earlier estimate by the Swiss Bankers Association, Russian funds of CHF 150 to 200 billion are likely to be managed in Switzerland.
There are several reasons for the discrepancy with the number reported by SECO: The CHF 46.1 billion does not include any securities, only customer deposits that exceed CHF 100,000 each. In addition, the assets of Russians who have a temporary or permanent residence permit from Switzerland or an EEA member do not have to be reported. The latter makes a big difference, said SECO department head Erwin Bollinger at a press conference.
According to the Commission in Brussels, Russian assets worth more than 17 billion euros have been frozen in the EU, including 2.2 billion euros in Germany. Ukraine wants Russian assets abroad to be confiscated and used to rebuild the country. When asked about this, Bollinger said: “At the moment we have no legal way in Switzerland to confiscate frozen funds.” Sanctioned Russian oligarchs who own a house in Switzerland can continue to live in it themselves. However, they are not allowed to rent or sell the property.