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Russia’s Swiss Enablers

United States

Members

Representative Steve Cohen

Co-Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Senator Roger Wicker

Ranking Member

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Moderator

Paul Massaro

Senior Policy Advisor

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Witnesses

Bill Browder

Head

Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign

Miranda Patrucic

Deputy Editor in Chief, Regional and Central Asia

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Mark Pieth

President of the Board

Basel Institute on Governance

Long known as a destination for war criminals and kleptocrats to stash their plunder, Switzerland is a leading enabler of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his cronies.

After looting Russia, Putin and his oligarchs use Swiss secrecy laws to hide and protect the proceeds of their crimes. Close relations between Swiss and Russian authorities have had a corrupting influence on law enforcement personnel in Switzerland and have led to the resignation of numerous officials, including the head prosecutor of Switzerland. A recent Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project investigation found that Credit Suisse catered to dozens of criminals, dictators, intelligence officials, sanctioned parties, and political actors, and identified problematic accounts holding more than $8 billion in assets. According to the Financial Times, Credit Suisse also asked investors to destroy documents linked to yacht loans made to oligarchs and tycoons.

This briefing examined the relationship between Switzerland and Russia in light of Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Panelists discussed how a compromised Switzerland affects U.S. national security and whether the United States should rethink its strategic bilateral relationship with Switzerland.

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