The Swiss Federal Council continues aligning the Swiss sanctions regime to the EU sanctions against Russia. On August 3, 2022, Switzerland adopted the 7 th package of EU sanctions. The new package comprises so called "maintenance and alignment" measures and primarily introduces a ban on buying, importing or transporting gold and gold products from Russia. As part of the maintenance and alignment package, the EU also made various technical and linguistic adjustments to existing measures. The corresponding adjustments are expected to be implemented in Switzerland shortly.
1. Introduction On August 3, 2022, the Swiss Federal Council introduced additional restrictions with a view to mirroring the 7 th package of sanctions imposed by the EU in July 2022. The corresponding amendments to the Ordinance on measures in connection with the situation in Ukraine ("UKRO") entered into force on August 3, 2022 at 18:00 CEST.
Also, on July 28, 2022, the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (DEFR) amended Annexes 1, 2, 4, 8 and 23 UKRO. 54 individuals and 9 entities were added to Annex 8. Four entities were added to Annex 2. The lists of goods in Annexes 1, 4 and 23 have been extended to align with the 7th EU sanctions package. The amendments to said annexes entered into force on July 29, 2022 at 18:00 CEST.
Switzerland continues aligning its sanctions regime to the EU one. Nevertheless, there are still "gaps" etween the European and Swiss sanctions and certain provisions will require interpretation.
In particular, the 7 th EU sanctions package includes an extension of the scope of the restriction on accepting deposits to specifically cover non-EU entities that are majority owned (directly or indierctly) by Russian nationals or residents. This explicit extension of the ban has not been adopted in Switzerland (yet). Incidentally, the current official guidance of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in this regard is that accounts of entities established outside Russia whose beneficial owner is a Russian person do not fall under the restriction on accepting deposits . SECO has already changed its position once to bring it in line with the (previous) EU interpretation and guidance. In view of the recent reversal in the EU, it is to be expected that SECO will also backtrack on this point.
The EU bans on the award of public contracts to Russian nationals, organizations or entities established in Russia are expected to be implemented only by the end of August.
Of note, SECO published on July 5, 2022 an amended version of its clarifications in the form of "frequently asked questions" (FAQ) document that now covers restrictions related to the sale of transferable securities and provision of trust and related services.
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