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Russia not to ban Swiss cheese or watches, but capital to leave Switzerland

August 28, 2014, 18:46 UTC+3 28 28/8
Switzerland’s government on Wednesday imposed authorization requirements for five Russian banks
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MOSCOW, August 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow will not ban Swiss cheese and watches in response to Switzerland's joining the EU's anti-Russian sanctions, but surely Russian capital will leave the financial haven, said Vladimir Gutenev, first deputy head of the State Duma's industry committee and the head of the Russian-Swiss inter-parliamentary group of friendship.

Switzerland’s government on Wednesday imposed authorization requirements for five Russian banks. The banks will require approval to issue long-term financial instruments in Switzerland, the government said on Wednesday, as it detailed measures to ensure it does not become a place for individuals or funds to avoid European sanctions on Moscow.

Switzerland, which is outside the European Union but is linked by agreements governing trade and other measures, decided in March not to join the EU's sanctions over the Ukraine crisis but has been keen not to be used as a route to circumvent them.

In a statement, the government said five Russian banks would now require authorization to issue long-term financial instruments in Switzerland. The five banks are Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank and Rosselkhozbank.

It also said it had added a further 11 names of individuals and organizations to a list designed to prevent it being used to bypass the sanctions.

"The Federal Council continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine closely and reserves the right to take further measures depending on how the situation develops," the government said in the statement.

Earlier this month, Switzerland expanded an export ban on defense materials to Russia and Ukraine and said it was looking to beef up measures to stop Russians using the country to bypass sanctions.

The Russian legislator said the fact that Switzerland joined the European Union's sanctions is at variance with its neutral status.

"All ask the question whether Russia will respond to such unfriendly steps taken during the year of the 200th anniversary since the two countries established diplomatic relations. In addition, the invitation for State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin to Switzerland for the jubilee celebration in September was canceled recently. We do not want symmetrical responses. And we will not take steps to ban Swiss cheese, chocolate or watches to Russia," Gutenev said.

There is no need to take official steps to express indignation addressed to Swiss authorities. Business will "vote". Russian citizens who keep capitals in Swiss banks will realize that confidence is undermined and the principle of neutrality is just a declaration. This will be an absolutely sufficient symmetrical response, the lawmaker said.

The fact that neutral Switzerland enters the "waterway of Euro-Atlantic policy" is a signal for Russian entrepreneurs who have looked for "quiet havens" that they should attentively revise their "system of coordinates", Gutenev added.

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