Switzerland is reportedly using loopholes to bypass its own sanctions © Getty Images / Vitoria Holdings LLC
Switzerland imported more than 14 tons of gold from Russia last month for processing, taking advantage of the fact that it was shipped through third countries, and thus did not violate Western sanctions, the latest data from the Swiss Federal Council has revealed.
In October, the Alpine country’s gold imports totaled CHF776 million ($879 million), of which $875.7 million worth of the precious metal originated from the sanctions-hit country and was delivered through the UK and Moldova, data showed.
In August 2022, Switzerland joined the EU’s seventh package of Ukraine-related restrictions, which included a ban on the “direct or indirect purchase, import or transfer of gold and gold jewelry” originating from Russia, and also prohibited exports from Russia to the bloc. Sanctions also target exports of gold items processed in a third country.
However, the Swiss regulation states that gold that was produced in Russia before the embargo is not subject to sanctions, meaning that the commodity can be legally imported from third countries.
Since the ban took effect, the questions of where and how Switzerland, a major global hub for processing the precious metal, sources its gold have been the subject of growing media and public attention. Some media outlets have been suggesting that the EU ban apparently had little impact on Swiss imports of gold from Russia as its refineries continue to buy and re-melt the metal, making it virtually impossible to trace its origin.
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