Prevent Corruption Import from Russia to Switzerland

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Dear Madam Federal Councillor Keller-Sutter,

We, the undersigned residents and citizens of Switzerland, call upon you to take decisive action to protect and uphold the values of Swiss democracy and way of life.

For over 20 years now groups of oligarchs and state employees have been illegally plundering the resources of the Russian Federation and neighbouring states. Their criminal activity ranges from kidnapping, ransom, state-sponsored terrorism, including the use of internationally banned chemical weapons, to the forceful annexation of neighbouring territories, military actions against sovereign states and financial and military support of internationally condemned murderous dictators. Examples of these activities alone would take volumes to enumerate.

These criminals pursue diverse goals, one of the chief among which is personal enrichment. Many of them have unfortunately chosen Switzerland as the safe haven for their illegal gains (https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/directdemocracy/people-power-in-russia_switzerland-first-choice-for-corrupt-russians/42065678 They have used the proceeds of their criminal acts to purchase property and a lifestyle in Switzerland drawn by the Swiss lifestyle and guarantees borne out of the centuries-old struggle of the Swiss people for independence, self-determination, democracy and the rule of law. 

Not only is this self-evidently hypocritical, it also has a direct impact on the very foundations, upon which the prosperity of the Swiss society is based. Transparency International has shed direct light on the practice of exporting corruption from Russia in its report: https://www.transparency.org/en/projects/exporting-corruption/data/russia While we applaud the efforts of Swiss authorities to deal with infractions by Gunvor, PKB Privatbank SA and Gazprombank (Schweiz) AG (https://images.transparencycdn.org/images/2020_ReportFull_ExportingCorruption_English.pdf it is clear that more direct action is needed to protect the integrity of Swiss institutions and the Swiss way of life.

We recommend and appeal to you to undertake a thorough and immediate investigation of high net worth Russian citizens residing in Switzerland or owning property in Switzerland, whose sources of wealth cannot be legally and transparently identified, in particular, in cases where those individuals are employees of the Russian State or Russian State-owned companies with officially declared incomes in stark misalignment with the value of their property and investments in Switzerland. Past examples of such investigations that have not led to transparent and decisive actions include the cases of the corrupt politician Andrey Klishas with real estate on the Lago Maggiore (https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/bloomberg/russia-knows-europe-sanctions-ineffective-with-tax-havens/38511060 or criminal gang boss Artem Chaika (https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/die-schweiz-hat-uns-massiv-geschadet-603011270982 who used to (and potentially still does) launder his blood money in Switzerland.

We remain confident in your ability to deal swiftly and effectively with these tentacles of corruption and decay that threaten the foundations of Switzerland’s prosperity by spreading along the shores of its lakes and on the slopes of its mountains the disease that continues to destroy the economy and democratic institutions in the Russian Federation.

Kind regards,