Canton Zug finds ‘no matches’ on Russian sanctions list

The city of Zug in central Switzerland, known for its low-tax and business-friendly profile. Keystone / Urs Flueeler

Finance authorities in low-tax business location Zug say their investigations have found no individuals or firms on the Swiss/EU Russian sanctions list operating in the canton.

This content was published on April 22, 2022

After criticism that the region wasn’t doing enough to chase down oligarchs and sanctioned firms, Zug’s finance ministry said it had since gone beyond the due diligence required by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), which is coordinating the sanctions implementation.

Zug finance minister Heinz Tännler, who caused a stir last month when he said he was not a “detective” chasing down every case, said on Thursday he was not surprised by the results of the review.

“Sometimes there is an impression that every business with Russian links is on the sanctions list,” Tännler told public radio SRF. But after going through the list of names decided by the EU – and also adopted by Switzerland – his canton recorded “no hits”, he said.

Blanket judgement

Tännler also warned against “pre-emptive blanket judgements of Russian citizens,” and clarified his earlier comments: at the time, it wasn’t yet clear exactly what federal authorities wanted the cantons to check, he said.

He added that Zug unreservedly supported the implementation of the sanctions, and that in the search for oligarchs, his canton was often “exaggeratedly portrayed”. It would be worth looking at other places like Geneva, Vaud and parts of Bern and Graubünden, he said.

That said, civil servants in Zug haven’t fully finished their proofing of the list, the finance ministry wrote in a press releaseExternal link: due to the different ways that names can be translated from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabets, they are still verifying certain cases.

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