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Sanctions against Russia - Vekselberg's yacht and plane seized in the United States - News

Sanctions against Russia – Vekselberg’s yacht and plane seized in the United States – News


The United States tightens sanctions against the Russian-Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg. Business Editor at SRF, Klaus Bonanomy, knows what that means from a Swiss perspective.

Why? Because of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the United States put more people on the sanctions list and tightened the sanctions on others. Russian-Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, an activist in Switzerland, was also affected. This has been on the US sanctions list since 2018 and can no longer enter the US, for example. Now Washington has also blocked a plane and a yacht owned by Vekselberg, with a total estimated value of $180 million.

Why the sanctions against Vekselberg? The oligarch Viktor Vekselberg is considered a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has business relations with Russian companies and state-owned enterprises that are subject to sanctions. Like other Russian oligarchs, Vekselberg has yet to comment critically on the Russian attack on Ukraine. This should also play a role in why the United States has tightened sanctions against him.

How is Vekselberg invested in Switzerland? Unlike other oligarchs, Vekselberg is a businessman who owns property all over the world – including in Switzerland. These include a 49 percent stake in Sulzer, OC Oerlikon (41 percent), Swiss Steel (25 percent) and a significant stake in the Züblin real estate group. Vekselberg was forced to less than halve its stake in Sulzer in 2018 after the United States placed it on a sanctions list for the first time.

Do Swiss sanctions threaten Vekselberg? So far, Switzerland has adhered to the EU sanctions list. But Bern can also take action against the oligarchs living in Zug – because Switzerland’s important trading partner, the United States, has done so. This is what the current Swiss ban law says. It will be possible to impose travel restrictions or ban Vekselberg’s assets. Then he would not be able to sell it, and his freedom of entrepreneurship would be severely restricted.

How does Bern behave? The Federal Council will have to take any action against Vekselberg. The state government will hardly be able to avoid looking into this matter. Because Bern is under close international scrutiny. For example, he heard from the Bundestag that Washington applied pressure behind the scenes at the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24 to accept sanctions – which Switzerland did indeed a few days later.

According to Vekselberg, Oerlikon and Sulzer . are not affected

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The Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was caught in the crosshairs of the United States’ fire, and he is subject to sanctions from the Treasury there. According to his own statements, the two Swiss companies Oerlikon and Sulzer in which he holds shares were not affected.

In a new round of sanctions, the United States took action against more aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend. In addition to the family of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and the board of directors of VTB Bank, the oligarch Viktor Vekselberg is also a member.