At the hearing, the Swiss judiciary was presented as corrupt. Swiss legal scholar and corruption expert Mark Beth was one of the three keynote speakers. He also denounced the vague machinations. According to him, Swiss lawyers are helping to hide questionable assets via accounts in the Caribbean.
“The problem is that the oligarchs and other interested parties — I’m thinking of the Russian State Bank — have money in Switzerland and we can’t find it because they are hiding behind so-called letterbox companies and accounts on offshore sites,” SRF broadcaster Friday said. Lawyers and consultants are not obligated to provide information about the beneficiaries of these accounts. The Law on Lawyers and Money Laundering should be changed accordingly.
“We reject the politically unacceptable allegations and expect the US authorities to correct them immediately,” the Swiss government, the Federal Council, said. Foreign Minister and current President Ignazio Cassis clearly expressed Switzerland’s displeasure in a conversation with his colleague in the United States, Anthony Blinken. Beth described the reaction as “thin-skinned”. He said it would be best to take criticism seriously.
After initial hesitation, Switzerland has practically fully adopted EU sanctions against Russia. In April, the authorities announced a freezing of 7.5 billion Swiss francs (about 7.2 billion euros) in the accounts of Russians subject to sanctions. The Bankers Association assumes that up to 200 billion Swiss francs (about 192.5 billion euros) of Russian money is in Swiss accounts.
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