Switzerland adopts sanctions against Russian individuals and entities

On Monday, the 28 February 2022, the Swiss Government adopted a sanction regime against certain Russian Federation individuals and entities with immediate effect. These sanctions are to be enforced by the Ordinance on measures in connection with the ongoing situation in Ukraine (hereinafter: the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance itself is based on the Swiss Federal Act on the Implementation of International Sanctions (hereinafter: “Embargo Act”), that Switzerland enacted in 2002 after becoming a member of the United Nations on 10 September 2002. The Embargo Act aims to implement sanctions that have been ordered by the United Nations, by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or by Switzerland’s most significant trading partners (e.g., the EU). It intends to secure compliance with international law and authorises the Swiss Federal Council to enact compulsory measures.

Already on 27 August 2014, the Federal Council had issued an Ordinance on measures in connection with the situation in Ukraine (hereinafter: the “2014 Ordinance”), which intended to prevent the circumvention of international sanctions with regard to the situation in Crimea and in the Donbass. Due to recent developments in Ukraine, the Federal Council amended the 2014 Ordinance several times in recent weeks. For example, on 25 February 2022, the Federal Council amended its Annex 3 and listed several individuals and organisations, including the members of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, who voted in favour of the invasion of Ukraine. On 28 February 2022, during an extraordinary meeting, the Federal Council amended the 2014 Ordinance again and aligned its sanctions measures to those already adopted by the European Union and published the sanctions in the federal papers.

Due to the frequent changes in recent times, the 2014 Ordinance underwent a total revision on 4 March 2022 and now exists in the version of the Ordinance mentioned at the beginning. The newly adopted measures concern in particular certain goods and financial services. According to the press release of the Federal Council, due consideration would have been given to humanitarian activities. The measures include, among others:

Measures regarding goods:

–     Prohibitions on dual-use goods, special military goods and goods for military and technological reinforcement or for the development of the defence and security sector.

–     Prohibitions on imports of firearms, ammunition, explosives, pyrotechnic articles and gunpowder from Russia and Ukraine.

–     Prohibitions on goods for the aerospace industry.

–     Bans on goods for oil refining.

Financial measures:

–     Freezing of assets and prohibitions on making them available.

–     Reporting obligations for blocked assets.

–     Prohibition on the issue and trading of transferable securities and money market instruments.

–     Prohibition on granting loans.

–     Prohibition on accepting deposits exceeding CHF 100’000 from Russian citizens or natural and legal persons in Russia.

–     Obligation to report existing deposits exceeding CHF 100’000.

–     Prohibitions in connection with transactions with the Central Bank of Russia.

–     Prohibition on providing specialised messaging services for payment transactions.

Measures concerning specified territories:

–     Prohibition of import of goods originating in the specified territories without a certificate of origin issued by the Ukrainian authorities.

–     Prohibition on the export of certain goods and related services to the specified territories.

–     Prohibition on financing, shareholdings, and certain services.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS) shall monitor the enforcement of the sanction measures. The deliberate violation of these sanctions can be punished with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to CHF 500’000. In serious cases, the penalty can even be imprisonment for up to five years and an additional fine of up to CHF 1 million.

Affected companies and/or individuals can also contact SECO directly by e-mail under sanctions@seco.admin.ch or by phone under +41 (0)58 464 08 12.

These are the upcoming dates for our Annual General Meetings:

Thursday, 21 March 2024
Thursday, 20 March 2025