Switzerland, historically known for its neutrality during major global events, is reportedly set to freeze Russian-owned crypto assets as war continues in Ukraine.
According to a new article by the Financial Times (FT), Switzerland, once touted for its strict banking privacy laws, will freeze all digital assets within its borders held by Russian citizens businesses that have been sanctioned by the EU.
Switzerland’s federal council says that it wants to match the sanctions imposed by Belgium on Russia for invading Ukraine, but they also plan to add a special clause for crypto assets, according to the report.
Though Switzerland is not a member of the European Union (EU), its finance minister Guy Parmelin says that the country has enacted all of the same sanctions the EU has onto Russia.
“As of today, all four of the EU’s sanctions packages have been adopted and implemented [in Switzerland].”
Parmelin adds that 223 Russian oligarchs and others personally close to Russian president Vladimir Putin have had their bank accounts identified and frozen as well.
FT cites an unnamed senior official in Switzerland’s finance ministry who says that while it’s possible for Swiss officials to freeze the accounts of those who use online crypto services such as exchanges and lending platforms, identifying people who hold and use crypto keys themselves is next to impossible.
“If someone holds their crypto key themselves then, wherever they are, it’s going to be virtually impossible to identify them. But if they are using crypto services – funds, exchanges, and so on – these service points we can target.”
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