Parmelan, head of the Swiss Economy Ministry, calls the transfer of Russian assets to Kiev illegal
The transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine would violate the constitutionally guaranteed right to property, Swiss Economy, Education and Research Minister Guy Parmelan told the Matin Dimanche newspaper.
“In Switzerland, the right to property is fundamental and guaranteed by the Constitution. Thus, taking money from one country or individuals from one country to transfer to another seems impossible given the existing legal framework,” the official explained.
He pointed out that even the US, which “could exert pressure”, has not yet taken this decision.
“We are a legal state. We are bound by the Constitution and the laws in force,” Parmelan concluded.
On Thursday, Swiss Foreign Minister Iñazio Cassis said that Bern did not rule out the possibility of using frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine, but said there was no legal basis for doing so. The head of the federal department of foreign affairs, Iñazio Cassis, said the confiscation of assets would require changes to international and national legislation, and “Switzerland would probably have to hold a popular vote on the issue”.
In late November last year, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed the creation of a special structure to manage Russian frozen funds. The statement indicated that the West had blocked about 300 billion euros of Russian central bank funds and 19 billion private funds of Russian businesses. According to von der Leyen, “once the sanctions are lifted, these funds can be used to ensure that Russia fully compensates for the damage caused to Ukraine”.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the situation with assets in Europe a theft. According to her, this has been going on for years – the European Union has been stamping out numerous illegitimate and unfounded decisions to freeze the property of Russian citizens and companies since 2014, and now it is also targeting state funds.