Switzerland tightens its sanctions against Russia | White & Case srl
Written by our Global Sanctions Team
On March 4, 2022, Switzerland significantly extended its sanctions against Russia, adopting various measures similar to the financial and trade restrictions recently imposed by the EU. The new sanctions add numerous asset freezes; prohibit people on the list from entering Switzerland; restrict exports of dual-use, high-tech and aircraft-related goods and oil/gas equipment to Russia and Ukraine and toughen various monetary and financial sanctions. These measures entered into force at 6:00 p.m. on the same day.
Switzerland has completely revised its “Ordinance on measures in connection with the situation in Ukraine”, which was first published in 2014 and recently amended on February 28, 2022.
Freeze of assets and entry/transit restrictions
The asset freeze in force since February 28, 2022 has been extended to 122 people (including around 20 Belarusian nationals and Russian businessmen such as Igor Sechin, Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, Alisher Usmanov, Sergei Roldugin, Gennady Timchenko and Alexey Mordaschov) and a new entity (SOGAZ Gas Industry Insurance Company). The list already included members of the Russian parliament and government, President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishoustin.
All assets belonging to or under the control of natural persons, companies and entities listed in Annex 8 (formerly Annex 3) of the ordinance are frozen with immediate effect from 6 p.m. It also prohibits the direct or indirect provision of assets or economic resources to these persons, companies and entities.
Entities that hold or manage assets to be frozen must report them to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (“SECO”).
Persons targeted by the asset freeze are also prohibited from entering and transiting Switzerland (with the exception of holders of a temporary or permanent residence permit in Switzerland or in a Member State of the European Union).
Switzerland has also partially suspended its visa agreement with Russia.
Since 2014, Swiss capital market sanctions have restricted certain transactions in new debt and new shares issued by certain Russian banks and companies and certain affiliates. They have been significantly modified and other measures in the financial field have been introduced.
Four additional banks (Alfa Bank, Bank Otkritie, Bank Rossiya and Promsvyazbank) and eight companies (Almaz-Antey, Kamaz, Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port, Rostec, Russian Railways, Sevmash, Sovcomflot and United Shipbuilding Corporation) are now subject to the Swiss capital sanction of the market. Transactions in transferable securities or money market instruments of any maturity issued by these entities and previously listed entities will be prohibited and no new loans/credits (of any maturity) may be extended to them (although certain exceptions apply).
Swiss banks can generally no longer accept deposits of more than CHF 100,000 (in total) from Russian persons, entities or other Russians residing or established in Russia, although limited exceptions, some subject to prior authorization, apply. In addition, Swiss banks must now regularly report all such Russian deposits over 100,000 euros. The restriction does not apply to holders of a temporary or permanent residence permit in Switzerland or in a Member State of the European Union.
It will be prohibited to provide services on trading platforms for securities of any state-owned legal entity in Russia, and Swiss central securities depositories will no longer be able to provide services for securities issued after April 12, 2022 to Russian people.
No securities denominated in euros issued after April 12, 2022 may be transferred to Russian natural or legal persons; again, this is subject to certain exceptions.
From March 12, 2022, it will be prohibited to provide specialized financial messaging services, used to exchange financial data, to listed banks (Bank Otkritie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Bank Rossiya, Sovcombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), VTB bank) , companies or entities or any bank, company or entity established in Russia which is controlled (>50%) by one of the listed banks.
Restrictions have been imposed on the Central Bank of Russia, with a ban on all transactions related to the management of its reserves and assets.
It is prohibited to provide public funding or financial assistance for trade or investment with Russia, except for prior binding funding commitments, trade in foodstuffs or for agricultural, medical or humanitarian purposes. Funding of up to €10 million per project is however still allowed for SMEs established in the EU.
It is prohibited to invest in, participate in or otherwise contribute to projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (subject to certain exceptions).
There is a prohibition on the sale, supply, transfer or export of banknotes denominated in Swiss francs or euros (i) to Russia or (ii) to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia, including notably the government and the Central Bank. Bank of Russia. Only very limited exceptions apply (i.e. personal use by individuals traveling to Russia and for official purposes of diplomatic missions and international organizations in Russia).
It is prohibited to honor claims based on a contract or a commercial transaction if its execution has been prevented or affected, directly or indirectly, by Swiss sanctions. This applies to claims held by all specifically targeted individuals and entities, any Russian individual, company or entity and any person or entity acting on their behalf.
Existing restrictions on dual-use goods and related services have been significantly tightened, and new trade restrictions apply to the aeronautics, aerospace, oil/gas and high-tech sectors.
In addition to an arms embargo, it is now prohibited to sell, deliver, export, transit or transport dual-use goods intended for use in Russia, as well as for military purposes in Russia. Ukraine. Financial services, brokerage, technical advice and the granting of financial resources related thereto are prohibited. Some exceptions apply.
It is prohibited to sell, deliver, export, transit and transport high-tech items intended for use in Russia, as well as for military purposes in Ukraine. The Swiss list of high-tech items is very similar to the list of high-tech items recently adopted under EU sanctions; this includes items for the electronics industry (e.g. microprocessors, semiconductors) and information security, sensors, lasers, navigation/avionics, marine and aerospace/ propulsion items. Financial services, brokerage, technical advice and the granting of financial resources related thereto are prohibited. Some exceptions apply.
It is prohibited to sell, deliver, export, transit or transport listed goods related to the aeronautics and space industry to natural or legal persons in Russia or which could be used in Russia. It is also prohibited to provide maintenance, repair or inspection services of aircraft and aircraft parts (except pre-flight inspection) in favor of any person or entity in or outside Russia. for use in Russia. Brokerage, technical advice, insurance/reinsurance and the granting of related financial resources are prohibited.
It is prohibited to sell, deliver, export or transit listed goods and technologies related to the petroleum refining sector to natural and legal persons in Russia or which could be used in Russia. The ban covers, for example, delayed cokers, flexicokers and hydrocracking reactors. Financial services, brokerage, technical advice and the granting of related financial resources are also prohibited.
Adopting sanctions similar to restrictions on oil/gas equipment that the EU has had in place since 2014, Switzerland has now banned the sale, supply, export or transit of goods listed for the oil industry is subject to with authorization. This includes oil/gas pipelines and drill pipe for oil or gas extraction. It is also now prohibited to provide certain services related to offshore arctic, deep water and shale oil projects in Russia.
Import of goods from Crimea, Sevastopol and Donetsk and Luhansk regions is generally prohibited as it requires an official Ukrainian certificate of origin. Exports of listed goods to these areas are prohibited.