Press release regarding judgment B-2284/2023, B-3507/2022

Ukraine: assets to remain frozen

A few weeks after Russia started its war of aggression against Ukraine, the Federal Council froze a number of accounts belonging to persons in the entourage of the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. The Federal Administrative Court rejects the appeals lodged against the freezing.


The freezing was designed to ensure that assets would not disappear. (Picture: Keystone)
The freezing was designed to ensure that assets would not disappear. (Picture: Keystone)

During the term of office (between 2010 and 2014) of Viktor Yanukovych, the former president of Ukraine, several persons in his political entourage opened bank accounts in Switzerland. When Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement with the EU in autumn 2013, protests and civil unrest (“Euromaidan”) broke out and ultimately led to his resignation in February 2014.

Provisional freeze for purposes of international legal assistance
In the aftermath, a number of accounts were provisionally frozen both in the European Union and in Switzerland within the framework of international legal assistance proceedings in criminal matters. At the same time, the new Ukrainian government commenced criminal proceedings against the persons concerned. At the core of these proceedings are allegations of corruption, abuse of public office, and money laundering.

Freezing for purpose of confiscation by way of legal action
Relying on the «Federal Act on the Freezing and the Restitution of Illicit Assets Held by Foreign Politically Exposed Persons», the Federal Council once again froze the bank accounts after Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine broke out, this time, however, for purposes of confiscation in the event the mutual legal assistance proceedings fail. The freezing was designed to ensure that assets totalling over 100 million Swiss francs would not disappear.

In its judgments, the Federal Administrative Court (FAC) examines the statutory requirements for freezing for the purposes of confiscation. It found in particular that, in the specific proceedings and under the specific circumstances of the cases at hand, Ukraine is no longer able to satisfy the requirements for international mutual legal assistance proceedings in criminal matters. The judgments of the FAC are precautionary measures. Ownership issues were not examined and are in any event reserved for any forthcoming legal action.

These judgments may be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court.


Rocco Maglio
Rocco Maglio

Press secretary / Head of communication a.i.