Over $200 billion is reportedly stashed in the country’s vaults
© Getty Images / Udo Kroener
Swiss banks, prized for their anonymity and safety, made a rare estimation of holdings by Russian clients amid sanctions slapped on Moscow due to the military operation in Ukraine.
The country’s Bankers Association (SBA) said on Thursday that there are between 150 and 200 billion Swiss francs ($160-$213 billion) of Russian clients’ money held in Swiss accounts. The revelation is unusual for Switzerland, which is favored by the world’s richest as a tax haven and one of the safest places for storing wealth.
Analysts say the figures announced show that the actual extent of Russians’ business with Swiss banks is far greater than what the balance sheets unveiled by several financial firms so far shows.
Setting aside the tradition of neutrality, Switzerland last month joined sanctions placed on Russia amid the crisis in Ukraine, with President Ignazio Cassis announcing that the country would freeze the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and 370 politicians and businessmen sanctioned by the European Union. The step was described as a way to stop those allegedly close to the Russian government from financing the “unprecedented military attack” on Ukraine.