Russians have $200bn in Swiss bank accounts – Reuters

Wealthy Russians have around $200 billion stashed away in super-secret Swiss bank accounts, the country’s banking industry association estimates, quoted by Reuters.

In a rare public statement on client holdings, the Swiss Bankers Association said it estimated Russians held 150-200 billion Swiss francs ($161-214 billion) in banks based in the country.

The figure – which is far higher than the official exposure to Russia that lenders have accounted for on their balance sheets – reveals the extent to which wealthy Russians have capitalized on the Swiss private financial sector to store their wealth abroad.

Russia is one of the most unequal countries in the world, and the war has shone a spotlight on Western countries that have made it easy for oligarchs to purchase property and assets in their jurisdictions.

In London, protesters occupied a luxury mansion owned by Oleg Deripaska – once dubbed ‘Putin’s favorite industrialist’ – after his assets were frozen in the latest round of sanctions, and calls are mounting to use properties frozen to house Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict.

Swiss assets – likely controlled by a small number of ultra-wealthy Russians – are equivalent to $1,400 for every Russian, or six months’ average salary for every worker in the country.

Following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Switzerland’s top-secret banking code has again come under fire. The country’s banks told Reuters they were complying with waves of new sanctions imposed on wealthy Russians, which include asset freezes and travel bans for hundreds of people.

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