Switzerland’s federal government has decided to impose measures to freeze crypto assets owned by Russian individuals and businesses within the country’s borders. The move comes hot on the heels of four European Union sanctions imposed by Brussels last week in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and while Ukraine’s call on banning Russians from the crypto market was rejected by crypto exchange giants like Binance and Coinbase unless law required it, a host of local crypto exchanges in certain countries have decided to ban Russian IPs.
Swiss Finance Minister, Guy Parmelin, in a statement claims that Switzerland has frozen bank accounts and physical assets owned by 223 Russians, including close associates of President Vladimir Putin. “As of today, all four of the EU’s sanctions packages have been adopted and implemented. Since Monday (February 28), bank accounts and assets of 223 Russians, including oligarchs and close Putin confidants, have been identified and frozen within the country,” Parmelin said.
A senior official at the finance ministry further mentioned that freezing crypto assets was essential because Switzerland wants to protect the integrity of its cryptocurrency industry. “If someone holds their crypto key themselves, then, wherever they are, it’s going to be virtually impossible to identify them. But if they are using crypto services — funds, exchanges and so on — these service points we can target,” the official stated.
Switzerland’s plans to freeze Russian-owned crypto assets was quickly followed by South Korea and Singapore over the weekend. Singapore announced sanctions against Russia, with the country restricting crypto transactions deemed to evade sanctions, while South Korean exchanges decided to bar Russian IP addresses.
While there’s been no announcement made yet but Japan is also reportedly (via Japan Times) considering a similar move with the country’s financial regulator and the industry body for cryptocurrencies beginning discussions to assess how sanctions can be effectively enforced against Russia.
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