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How can Individuals be removed from Swiss sanctions list?

As of January 2024, more than 2600 Russian individuals and legal entities have been included in the Swiss sanctions list as a result of measures taken by Switzerland in connection with the situation in Ukraine. A number of individuals have been successfully removed from the US, EU and Swiss sanctions list already. In this newsletter we will focus on the general legal framework for Swiss sanctions removal, specific recent successful cases and the LINDEMANNLAW expertise in this area.

1. What is the purpose of the Swiss economic sanctions policy? How can persons be removed from the Swiss Sanctions list?
The primary objective of Switzerland imposing sanctions on a legal entity or an individual is to encourage to change behavior in line with the Swiss policy goals by that persons and companies. Economic sanctions are to be distinguished from criminal punishment. Accordingly, if it can be shown that the basis for the designation no longer applies, potentially the behavior may have already been changed at the time the sanctions have been imposed and respectively at the time that the person or company has been included in a sanctions list, the relevant person or company has to be removed from the Swiss sanctions list. Successful cases of removal are typically businesspeople that do not or no longer support certain government activities, as well as family members or known contacts that do not or no longer support sanctioned actors.

2. Are law firms allowed to represent clients?
LINDEMANNLAW is a Swiss law firm acting under the laws of the Swiss Confederation. While the Swiss Confederation has taken to implement Swiss economic sanctions in harmony with the EU, Swiss law firms for sanctions removal are not prohibited to provide legal services to Russian individuals1. Swiss law firms are also allowed to provide legal services to Russian legal entities with respect to judicial, administrative or arbitral proceedings to maintain their access to justice.

3. Are all persons on the EU sanctions list also on the Swiss sanctions list?
It is possible that individuals were not placed on the list by the EU as part of the sanctions against Russia, but rather as part of other independent sanctions regimes. The Federal Council is aware of this. These so-called “thematic” sanctions regimes are not directed against an individual country  but are intended to target certain types of behavior worldwide (human rights violations, cyberattacks and the use of chemical weapons). In addition to Russian individuals and legal entities, individuals and legal entities from a large number of other countries are also targeted by the sanctions, including North Korea, China, Libya and Eritrea. Accordingly, these thematic sanctions must be clearly distinguished from the sanctions implemented as a result of measures taken in connection with the situation in Ukraine. The listings of Russian individuals and legal entities were made by the EU independently and well before the current conflict.

4. What is the procedure to remove Swiss sanctions against an individual?
Sanctioned persons, companies and organisations have the opportunity to assert their rights. They can submit an application to the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) to be removed from the sanctions list (known as a “delisting application procedure in Switzerland”). The EAER examines the application and issues an appealable ruling, which can be contested before the Federal Administrative Court and subsequently before the Federal Supreme Court. The Swiss sanctions removal process would be the responsibility of the Federal Council. In this way, the rule of law is fully upheld. This practice has been confirmed several times by the Federal Supreme Court and has proven itself in practice. EAER has so far received five such delisting requests in connection with the situation in Ukraine.

5. What successful precedents exist?
By now there are in total 11 successful precedents of removing individuals from the EU and the US sanctions list. The individuals on the EU sanctions list were also removed from the Swiss sanctions list. Below we offer the full list to your attention:

Individuals against whom Russia-related sanctions of the EU and the US have been removed:

            EU

  1. Saodat Narzieva
    The Guardian
    Article link
  2. Olga Ayziman
    Official Journal of the European Union
    Announcement link
  3. Dmitry Ovsyannikov
    EU Court of Justice
    Operative part of the ECJ Decision link
  4. Grigory Berezkin
    Reuters
    Article link
  5. Alexander Shulgin
    Financial Times
    Article link
  6. Georgy Shuvaev(deceased 2022)
    Reuters
    Article link

    US
  7. Anatoly Karachinskiy
    First Russian National to be removed from the U.S. SDN List following the Russian war in Ukraine on May 19, 2023
    Article link
  8. Andrey Golikov
    Office of Foreign Assets Control
    Press-release link
  9. Elena Titova
    Finews.ch
    Article link
  10. Natalya Alymova
    Global Sanctions
    Article link
  11. Paul Goldfinch
    Global Sanctions
    Article link

6. What are the benefits of a removal from the Swiss sanctions list?
The mayor benefit is asset unfreezing after Swiss sanctions removal. The former designated person can freely manage all his or her assets. Especially bank accounts will be deblocked. In addition, the assets of companies controlled by the former designated person are unfrozen and can be used to conduct business.

7. Why LINDEMANNLAW?

  • LINDEMANNLAW has experience with removals from EU, Swiss and US sanctions lists as we employ EU, Swiss and US lawyers. 
  • We have  Russian-speaking lawyers in our team who work on sanctions removal cases and work with Russian-speaking clients for more than 12 years.
  • We coordinate simultaneous removals from EU, Swiss and US sanctions lists and legal representation for sanctioned individuals.
  • We have a specialized litigation team. 
  • Alongside with our team expertise, LINDEMANNLAW utilizes custom-tailored AI technology, internet resources and world intelligence databases that help to verify that the grounds for sanctions had no factual basis or were inaccurately assessed

For more information, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you.

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1 Art. 28e. Verbote betreffend Dienstleistungen. RS 946.231.176.72. Verordnung über Massnahmen im Zusammenhang mit der Situation in der Ukraine. https://www.fedlex.admin.ch/eli/cc/2022/151/de.

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