Switzerland is committed to a coordinated international approach to the frozen assets and reserves of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
At present, the freezing of Russian assets in Switzerland does not lead to substantial profits. This contrasts with the situation in Belgium, which announced on Wednesday that it would pay €1.7 billion to Ukraine, a sum corresponding to the proceeds of taxes on interest earned on Russian assets frozen in banks in Belgium. According to the Belgian government, this windfall should be returned to Ukraine to rebuild its infrastructure.
In Switzerland, Russian financial assets frozen as part of the sanctions still amount to CHF7.5 billion, in addition to 15 properties in the same situation, SECO confirmed to Keystone-ATS news agency on Thursday. In addition, the total sum of reserves and assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation declared in Switzerland amounts to CHF7.4 billion.
Belgium is in a special situation, as it is home to the central depository holding the largest volume of assets on deposit in Europe, according to SECO. It is also one of the European Union states with the most Russian financial assets frozen, as part of the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the European bloc after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo referred to “hundreds of billions” of assets held in various financial institutions, which have earned interest worth “billions” of euros. For the time being, it is impossible to use these assets or the interest, due to the lack of legal leverage. However, Belgian legislation does allow the proceeds of interest taxation to be redistributed to Ukraine.
In Switzerland, on the other hand, the freezing of Russian assets “does not lead to substantial profits”. The Confederation is “closely following the international debate and is committed to a coordinated approach”. Irrespective of the discussions on the frozen Russian assets, the Federal Council has repeatedly reaffirmed its intention to continue supporting Ukraine, SECO points out.