– Elected officials punish Bern’s laxity towards Melnichenko
A Kremlin member in Switzerland passed his business on to his wife shortly before the announcement of sanctions against Russia. Critics merge.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is being criticized. The revelations of the Tamedia newspapers about the transmission of the company of the Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko to his wife, with the agreement of the organ of the Confederation, go badly.
In its Sunday edition, the “SonntagsZeitungechoes the discontent on the part of the political class. Starting with the president of the PLR, Thierry Burkart, who says he is “very surprised” that the procedure has been accepted by SECO.
The body responsible for implementing sanctions against Russians after the war in Ukraine validated the procedure that allowed the Russian oligarch to hand over his business to his wife Aleksandra Melnichenko, a former Serbian supermodel and singer in an all-female band. Eight days before the Swiss sanctions were announced, the billionaire withdrew from the Cypriot trust that holds 90% of the shares of his Zug-based company Eurochem. The new beneficiary of the trust is his wife.
“To me, it seems a lot to circumvent sanctions,” says Thierry Burkart. The head of PLR would like the facts to be clarified in more detail and additional documents requested. “SECO made it too easy for itself.”
In turn, the PS doesn’t go there with the back of the spoon. For its co-chair, it is “obvious that the transfer to family members is a simple evasion” of sanctions. “The slow and unmotivated implementation of sanctions by SECO was and is a real invitation to create all kinds of creative solutions”, insists Cédric Wermuth, who speaks of “huge gaps in the Swiss system”.
Faced with this round of criticism, SECO defends itself and emphasizes that “sanctions cannot be circumvented”. Sanctions against Andrey Melnichenko would be applied, his personal assets blocked. The company Eurochem will not be prosecuted because “itself and its employees are not subject to sanctions and are not included in the list of sanctions”, explains the Confederation body, which maintains that the possibility of sanctioning the oligarch’s wife does not exist with the law. of the embargo.
‘Not on the sanctions list’
Moreover, “detours must be avoided, otherwise it makes no sense”, insists the president of the PLR. He calls for actions by the federal adviser responsible for the economy, Guy Parmelin, for the implementation of the sanctions. “He must ensure that SECO takes this task seriously.”
National environmental adviser Manuela Weichelt does not believe that SECO does not have the means to apply sanctions to the family members of the targeted people in the context of the war in Ukraine. She recalls that during the Arab Spring, the Financial Markets Supervisory Authority also applied the guidelines to relatives of dictators. And wish: “I hope SECO enforces the rules as our regulator of financial markets with regard to family relationships.”
Etonam Ayanyo is a journalist in the digital newsroom of paid media. Previously, she worked on “20 Minutes”, “NewsExpress” and as a West African correspondent for various international media outlets.
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