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Swiss parliament votes against joining G7 task force probing Russian oligarchs’ assets

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published April 18,2024
An overview of the Swiss parliament in Bern, Switzerland, Sept. 15, 2014. (AFP File Photo)

The lower chamber of Switzerland's parliament voted Wednesday to reject a proposal for the country to join a G7 task force tracking and confiscating the assets of Russian oligarchs.

The Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs (REPO) task force was established in March 2022 by the European Union, the G7 countries and Australia.

In the session, 101 lawmakers voted against the Green Party's motion, while 80 voted in favor.

The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) had previously spoken out in favor of Switzerland joining the task force in a report on March 25.

The FAC justified this by saying that Switzerland must do more to ensure that the sanctions against Russia decided on after its attack on Ukraine are fully implemented.

The Swiss government had spoken out against joining.

"In the view of the Federal Council, joining this task force would not bring any real added value for Switzerland," Swiss Justice Minister Beat Jans said during the debate on Wednesday.

He pointed out that Switzerland's cooperation with the participating states in the task force was "functioning smoothly at a technical level."

"Switzerland's commitment to the implementation of sanctions is internationally recognized," Jans continued.

"As a neutral state, Switzerland has an interest in taking an independent position," he added.

Jans emphasized that non-participation also makes it easier for Switzerland to "offer its good services."

According to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Russian assets worth the equivalent of 7.5 billion Swiss francs ($8.2 billion) have so far been blocked in Switzerland.

In addition, according to SECO, 7.4 billion Swiss francs ($8.1 billion) in funds from Russia's central bank have been frozen.