Frozen in 2014, Switzerland Aids Ukraine in Recovering Viktor Yanukovich’s Assets
Swiss-based assets of Viktor Yanukovich, the former president of Ukraine, were frozen in 2014, and Ukraine had requested assistance in retrieving them.
The Swiss government has launched legal proceedings with the Federal Administrative Court to confiscate $ 140 million Swiss francs ($140.89 million) connected to individuals linked to the entourage of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. The funds are believed to be of “illicit origin”, according to a statement by Bern.
The individuals implicated in the case are associated with Yanukovich, who fled to Russia after being removed from power by mass demonstrations in 2014.
Following further deliberations, Switzerland raised the targeted amount to 130 million Swiss francs in a confiscation investigation initiated last year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the government, the assets will be kept frozen until the Federal Administrative Court reaches a final verdict. The government has also stated that any confiscated assets will be returned to the Ukrainian people as per an international agreement.
The Swiss authorities have clarified that asset confiscation is rare and is typically only implemented in exceptional circumstances. This includes situations where foreign states have previously tried to seize assets but have been unsuccessful.
Following their freezing in 2014, Yanukovich’s assets based in Switzerland were the subject of Ukrainian attempts to recover them. However, due to the war, these efforts were complicated.
As per the government, the assets were under investigation in Ukraine’s criminal proceedings, and mutual assistance procedures were initiated by Ukraine.
The proceedings aim to investigate whether the assets are of illicit origin in the given circumstances and can thus be subject to confiscation.
Switzerland clarified that the asset freezing measures were not connected to the list of sanctions imposed on 1,386 Russian nationals since the Russian invasion in February 2022.
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