“We can’t freeze funds if we don’t have sufficient reasons,” said Bollinger, senior official at the Swiss Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Switzerland is a popular destination for wealthy Russians to keep their assets. However, Switzerland came under pressure from western countries after Russia invaded Ukraine, so it also imposed sanctions by freezing the assets of the Moscow oligarchs.
Previously, Switzerland had tried to be neutral. The mountainous nation has also hosted many peace talks and negotiations on geopolitical disputes.
The Swiss bank holds up to $213 billion of Russian wealth with its two biggest lenders UBS and Credit Suisse. The two companies hold tens of billions of francs for wealthy Russians.
As of March 2022, Credit Suisse alone had frozen about 10.4 billion Swiss francs of the money.
The US Helsinki Commission, an independent, government-funded commission on security, cooperation and human rights issues in Europe, said Switzerland had used secrecy laws to hide and protect the wealth of Russian oligarchs in early May 2022.
However, the Swiss government rejected the accusations. Swiss President Ignazio Cassis asked the US government to immediately correct the statement.