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Switzerland imposes restrictions on financial transactions for 33 Russian officials

Sergey Naryshkin, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin and other officials won't be able to transfer assets available outside EU to Switzerland

GENEVA, April 02, /ITAR-TASS/. Thirty-three Russian officials already sanctioned by EU over their role in the Ukraine crisis will now face Swiss-imposed restrictions on financial transactions in the territory of the Swiss Confederation.

Switzerland, which is not an EU member, decided against imposing its own sanctions last week but promised not to turn itself into a place to circumvent penalties imposed elsewhere.

The financial restrictions against 33 Russian officials came into force at 20:00 Moscow time on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Swiss State Secretariat for Economics (SECO) said that the aforesaid persons would be unable to transfer their assets, already frozen under the EU sanctions, to Switzerland.

All the 33 Russian officials named in the EU sanctions list will be banned from entering Switzerland on grounds that Switzerland is a Schengen state and applies pan-European rules. However, the SECO spokesperson explained that there was a possibility for the sanctioned officials to enter Switzerland if the purpose of their trip was linked to humanitarian activities, national interests or international politics.

The Russian officials named in the EU sanctions list will be allowed to continue existing business relationships which, however, will have to be reported to SECO, including details of beneficiaries and the purpose and value of the business deals. Exactly the same rules will be applied to possible deposits of the 33 sanctioned Russian officials in the Swiss banks. The collection of that data will enable the Swiss authorities to gain an overview of what relationships and assets the persons concerned have in Switzerland in order to impose tougher restrictions if necessary.

The list of restrictions which the Swiss government published earlier on Wednesday mirrors the sanctions list approved by the European Union late in March. The Swiss list includes Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin; presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, presidential aide Vladislav Surkov; Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko; State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin; Dmitry Kiselev, the director of the “International News Agency “Russia Today”; two deputy commanders of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Alexander Nosatov and Valery Kulikov; Mikhail Malyshev, chairman of the Crimean Central Electoral Commission; Valery Medvedev, chairman of Sevastopol’s election committee; Colonel General Igor Turchenok; State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina.

Restrictions on them come into force since the moment of being published, i.e. on March 21.

The European Union published its first list of 21 sanctioned Russian and Crimean officials on March 17. Europe’s “black list” included 8 Crimean leaders: Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, parliamentary Speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, First Vice-Premier Rustam Temirgaliyev; Crimean Navy Commander Denis Berezovsky; Mayor of Sevastopol Alexei Chalyi; Security Service Chief Pyotr Zima; Yuri Zherebtsov, adviser to the speaker of the Crimean State Council (parliament); and Sergei Tsekov, the head of the Russian Community of Crimea.

The list also included 13 Russians: Viktor Zero, the head of the Russian Federation Council Defense Committee; Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs; Andrei Klishas, the head of the Federation Council Committee for Constitutional Legislation; Nikolai Ryzhkov, a representative of Russia’s Belgorod region at the Federation Council; Evgeny Bushmin, the vice-speaker of the Russian Federation Council; Alexander Totoonov, a member of the Federation Council Committee for Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy; Oleg Panteleyev, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Regulation and Organisation of Parliamentary Activity; Sergei Mironov, the leader of A Just Russia party faction at the Russian State Duma of the Russian Federal Assembly; State Duma Vice-Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak; Leonid Slutsky, the head of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs.

Vice-Admiral Alexander Vitko, the Russian Black Sea Fleet commander; Commander of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov and Commander of the Southern Military District Alexander Galkin, as well as Lieutenant-General Igor Turchenok were also blacklisted.

All in all, the European Union’s blacklist for Russia includes 33 officials whom the EU considers to be personally responsible for Russia’s actions against Ukraine.

A few days earlier, the Swiss government froze the accounts of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and his inner circle in Swiss banks; suspended deliveries of military purpose materials to Russia; stopped a programme of training Swiss military experts in Russia and interrupted talks on conclusion of a free trade zone agreement with Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has described the Swiss restrictions on bilateral cooperation as counterproductive and expressed regret over the Swiss government’s one-sided stance on the Ukraine crisis that is ignoring the realities and numerous explanations given by the Russian side.

“We believe that this biased approach does not meet the friendly nature of Russian-Swiss relations and does not match the spirit of a policy of neutrality pursued by Switzerland. We consider the restrictions which Berne has imposed on some areas of bilateral cooperation to be unjustified and counterproductive,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.