Swiss court rules large sums to be returned to Russian nationals under international sanctions-

The decision is linked to a $230 million tax fraud and the death of Sergey Magnitsky

DAVOS – In recent months, the United States, the UK, Italy, France and many other countries froze Russian assets worth tens of billions of dollars. Thousands of Russians are under sanctions. But not all Western countries seem to be moving in the same direction. A few weeks ago, Swiss authorities allowed $14 million to be returned to four Russian nationals, three of which are on sanction lists in the US, the UK, the Baltic States, Canada and Australia.

The breakthrough came on 23rd November 2022, with a decision by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court. The four beneficiaries of the funds deposited in Switzerland are Moscow tax official Olga Stepanova, her former husband Vladlen Stepanov, a former banker named Dmitry Klyuev, and Denis Katsyv, son of the former deputy prime minister of the Moscow region Pyotr Katsyv. The Swiss court does not deny that at least two out of the four were involved in a complex $230 million tax fraud that began in 2007. Nor do they dispute that an ensuing money-laundering scheme resulted, in part, in large deposits in Swiss bank accounts. In 2013 the US Treasury placed Mrs Stepanova under sanctions, along with her former husband, «for her involvement in the criminal…