Source: Financial Times
Switzerland is to freeze all crypto assets held within its borders that are owned by Russians and the country’s businesses sanctioned by the EU.
The federal council said on Friday it intends again to match the latest range of sanctions imposed by Brussels on Moscow for its war in Ukraine, adding that it will include its own provision against cryptocurrencies.
Switzerland has in recent years become one of the world’s largest centers for blockchain-based financial assets, a class of securities that has come under criticism for its potential to be misused for criminal purposes such as money laundering, thanks to the anonymity afforded to owners.
“As of today, all four of the EU’s sanctions packages have been adopted and implemented” in Switzerland, said finance minister Guy Parmelin. Since Monday, he said, 223 Russians, including “oligarchs and close Putin confidants”, have had bank accounts and assets identified and frozen in the wealthy Alpine country.
A senior official at the finance ministry said it was essential to take an additional step against crypto assets because the country wanted to “protect the integrity” of its cryptocurrency industry.
“If someone holds their crypto key themselves then, wherever they are, it’s going to be virtually impossible to identify them,” the official said. “But if they are using crypto services — funds, exchanges and so on — these service points we can target.”