Switzerland, a key refiner and manufacturer of gold bars, is banning imports of the precious metal from Russia, the government said Wednesday. The central government aligned itself with EU sanctions which, on 21 July, added a ban on gold imports of Russian origin to the list of restrictions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The ban…
comes into effect at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday, Switzerland’s Federal Council said in a statement.
Under the new sanctions, Switzerland forbids “buying, importing or transporting gold and gold products from Russia”, adding that “services in connection with these goods are also prohibited”.the statement said,
Traditionally neutral, Switzerland broke with its usual stance in the days after the start of the war in Ukraine by aligning itself with European Union economic sanctions.
SWISS BAN IMPORTS OF RUSSIAN GOLD
In May, three tons of gold from Russia were imported from Britain, but it was not clear which company was responsible for bringing it to Switzerland, Bloomberg News reported.
The Swiss Association of Manufacturers and Traders in Precious Metals (ASFCMP), which represents the country’s largest refineries, contacted its members and said none of them were responsible for the imports.
“doubtful gold” had “no place in Switzerland” and urged its members to act “with the utmost caution”.The association insisted that
Swiss customs said at the time they were examining the imports in light of the sanctions, but insisted that gold imports from Russia were not banned.
While gold exports were already subject to sanctions, imports were not banned under the sanctions order, customs officials said.
NEW EU SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA
The fourth package of sanctions imposed by the EU included luxury goods, banning the sale, supply, transfer or export of luxury goods to Russia, including gold, silver, pearls and diamonds.
But on 21 July, the EU also explicitly added a ban on importing gold from Russia, including in the form of powder, debris or gold coins.
Switzerland has several refineries to recycle gold and melt ingots.
The sector employs 1 500 people, according to ASFCMP.
© Agence France-Presse