Switzerland implements further sanctions following the EU’s sixth package

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On 10 and 29 June 2022, Switzerland expanded existing sanctions and implemented new measures in response to Russia's ongoing military aggression in Ukraine. This new sanction set is in line with the EU's sixth package adopted on 3 June 2022. The latest sanctions entered into force at 18:00 p.m. CET on 29 June 2022. Switzerland also reinforced existing sanctions against Belarus on 10 June 2022.

Ban on crude oil and petroleum products

The purchase of crude oil and petroleum products referred to in Annex 24, originating in or coming from the Russian Federation, when Switzerland is the place of destination, or its import, transit and transport in Switzerland and through Switzerland is banned. Related services are also prohibited.

There are three exceptions to this new restriction:

  • The restriction does not apply to crude oil transported by sea and petroleum products, when these goods only pass through the Russian Federation and their owner is not Russian or when they come from the Russian Federation but are imported legally into a member of the European Union.
  • In addition, contracts relating to the purchase, import, transit and transport of crude petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals (tariff 2709 00) and related services concluded before 30 June 2022 can be executed until 5 December 2022, provided that the contracts are notified to the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (the "SECO") by 21 July 2022. Short-term, one-off delivery transactions of a similar nature may also be executed until 5 December 2022, provided that they are notified to the SECO within ten days.
  • A similar exception applies to contracts relating to the purchase, import, transit and transport of petroleum oils or oils obtained from bituminous minerals other than crude (tariff 2710) and related services concluded before 30 June 2022, which can be executed until 5 February 2023, provided that the contracts are notified to SECO by 21 July 2022. Short-term, one-off delivery transactions of a similar nature may also be executed until 5 December 2023, provided that they are notified to the SECO within ten days.

The ban on crude oil and petroleum products also applies to related technical, brokering and financial services, as well as financings, except when the crude oil and petroleum products only pass through the Russian Federation and their owner is not Russian. Contracts concluded before 30 June 2022 may be executed until December 2022.

Ban on the provision of accounting and tax consulting services

It is prohibited to provide, directly or indirectly, accounting, auditing, including statutory auditing, bookkeeping or tax consulting services, or business and management consulting or public relations services to the government of the Russian Federation or legal persons, companies or entities established in Russia. There is a wind-down period until 31 July 2022 for the termination of contracts concluded before 30 June 2022.

This restriction does not apply to the provision of services that are strictly necessary for the exercise of the right of defence in judicial proceedings and the right to an effective legal remedy and to the provision of services intended for the exclusive use of legal persons, companies or entities established in the Russian Federation that are owned by, or solely or jointly controlled by, a Swiss or EEA legal person, company or entity. The SECO may also authorise derogations for humanitarian and democratic purposes.

Ban on the advertisement in some Russian medias

It is prohibited to advertise products or services produced or broadcasted on radio and television programmes or on other electronic contents by the legal persons, companies or entities listed in Annex 25, which include several Russia Today channels, Sputnik, Rossiya RTR, Rosssiya 24 and TV Centre International, irrespective of the transmission or broadcast mode. The Federal Office of Communications ("OFCOM") monitors the execution of this restriction.

Reinforcement of existing sanctions

Addition to asset freeze/transit restrictions of Russian individuals and companies and new exceptions

Switzerland imposed additional asset freeze/transit restrictions on a number of individuals and entities (listed in Annex 8 of the Ordinance related to Ukraine) on 10 June 2022. The newly listed entities are: JSC Garnizon, JSC Oboronenergo, OJSC Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant, JSC Voentelecom, Voentekstilprom LLC, INDEPENDENT INSURANCE GROUP, JSC Kronshtadt Tekhnologii Group of Companies, Management Company Tatneft-Neftekhim LLC, Nizhnekamsk All-Steel Tyre Plant, LLC, LLC TD KAMA, JSC Remdizel, JSC Sukhoi Company, JSC "121 Aircraft Repair Plant", and National Settlement Depository ("NSD").

Switzerland also introduced new exceptions to the asset freeze restrictions for telecommunication services. The asset freeze does not apply when the release of frozen assets or economic resources, the transfer of funds or the provision of such assets or economic resources is necessary for a Swiss or an European Economic Area ("EEA") based operator for the provision of telecommunication services (i) in the Russian Federation, in Ukraine, in Switzerland or in an EEA member state, (ii) between the Russian Federation or Ukraine and Switzerland or an EEA member state, or (iii) for the resources and associated services necessary for the operation, maintenance and security of those telecommunications services. Data centre services in Switzerland and EEA member states are also exempted.

Addition to the ban on providing specialised messaging services (SWIFT)

Three banks were added to the list of entities banned from SWIFT (Annex 14) on 10 June 2022: Sberbank, Credit Bank of Moscow and Joint Stock Company Russian Agricultural bank, JSC.

Addition the ban on imports of a wide range of industrial goods

Two additional goods deemed to generate significant revenues for Russia joined the list of Annex 20 on 10 June 2022. The sale, delivery, export, transit and transport of undenatured ethyl alcohol with an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 80 per cent; spirits, liqueurs and other spirituous beverages (tariff 2208) and residues of starch manufacture and similar residues, beet pulp, bagasse and other waste of sugar manufacture, brewing or distilling dregs and waste, whether or not in the form of pellets (tariff 2303) is prohibited.

New sanctions exceptions

Ban on direct and indirect dealings with certain Russian State Owned Entities ("SOEs")

Switzerland added further exceptions to the prohibition on direct and indirect transactions with the SOEs listed in Annex 15. This restriction does not apply to payment receipts due by the listed SOEs for contracts executed before 15 May 2022, as well as transactions including sales which are necessary before 22 October 2022 for the liquidation of a joint venture or a similar legal form founded before 26 March 2022 associating a listed SOE.

This restriction does not apply either to transactions related to the provision of telecommunications services or services and equipment necessary for the operation, maintenance and security of telecommunications services, including the provision of firewall and call centre services, to the listed banks, companies or entities.

Ban on servicing trusts for Russian beneficiaries

The ban on servicing trusts for Russian beneficiaries is still present in the updated Ordinance. However, there is now a wind-down period until 31 July 2022 for the termination of contracts concluded before 28 April 2022.

Moreover, Switzerland removed the prohibition to act as, or arrange for another person to act as, a trustee, nominee shareholder, director, secretary or a similar position, for a subject trust or similar legal form.

Activities promoting democracy and the operation of a trust or a similar legal form whose purpose is the management of occupational pension funds, contracts insurance or employee participation plans, or the operation of charitable organisations, amateur sports clubs and funds for minors or vulnerable adults were added as situations which may give rise to derogations by the SECO.

Ban on acceptance of deposits and provision of crypto-currency services

The ban on accepting deposits of Russian individuals or entities is unchanged. However, acceptance of the deposit or the provision of crypto-currency services necessary for the payment of commissions or fees corresponding to the safekeeping or day-to-day management of frozen assets or economic resources was added as a situation that may give rise to derogations by the SECO.

Reinforcement of existing sanctions against Belarus

Ban on providing specialised messaging services (SWIFT)

Belinvestbank (Belarusian Bank for Development and Reconstruction) was added to the banks listed in Annex 15 of the Ordinance related to Belarus on 10 June 2022.

Addition to asset freeze / transit restrictions of Belarusian individuals and companies

Switzerland imposed additional asset freeze/transit restrictions on a number of individuals and entities (listed in Annex 13) on 10 June 2022. The newly listed entities are: Open Joint Stock Company "Belaruskali", Joint Stock Company "Belarusian Potash Company", "Inter Tobacco" LLC, Open Joint Stock Company "Naftan", Open Joint Stock Company "Grodno Tobacco Factory Neman, Beltamozhservice, Open Joint Stock Company "Managing Company of Holding 'Belkommunmash'" and Belteleradio Company / National State Television and Radio Company of the Republic of Belarus.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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