Ukraine working with Switzerland to identify assets belonging to Russian oligarchs - Ambassador

Ukraine will work with Switzerland on methods of identifying investments and assets owned by Russian oligarchs.

The Ambassador of Ukraine to Switzerland, Artem Rybchenko, stated this in an interview with Radio NV, Ukrinform reports.

"We are negotiating this. There was a visit of our special envoy for sanctions recently. In other words, work is going on in this regard," Rybchenko said in response to the question, whether Switzerland intends to search for Russian oligarchs’ money as British officials do.

He noted that there are "quite a lot" of Russian investments in Switzerland, but there are different ways of investing these funds, so it is not always clear whether they are actually Russian-owned.

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In this context, the diplomat emphasized the need to act in accordance with the current legislation, "so that later there are no appeals and we simply do not lose these opportunities and time, moving without legal support."

As reported, a new property register came into effect in Great Britain on August 1, which is designed to stop money laundering. The new system appeared against the backdrop of economic sanctions imposed in response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

From now on, any foreign company that seeks to buy land or property in the UK will have to disclose its actual owners. Those who refuse to reveal the name of their true owner shall face a fine of up to GBP2,500 a day or up to five years in prison. Beneficiaries or principals must be registered within six months.

The register also covers properties bought since January 1999 in England and Wales and since December 2014 in Scotland.

The new property register is part of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill, which was passed in the UK in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Swiss President Ignatius Cassis said on July 5 that the passing of a legal decision on the transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine will be possible only after the origin of these funds and the presence of a direct or indirect connection with the war and the crimes committed during it have been clarified.

On May 12, Switzerland unfroze 3.4 billion francs previously blocked due to sanctions on Russian assets, but at the same time froze another 2.2 billion francs. A representative of the Swiss government, Erwin Bollinger, explained this by the fact that the country cannot freeze assets if it has no sufficient grounds to this end.