Swiss Banks Close Accounts for Dual Citizens

Some Swiss banks have begun closing accounts for individuals holding both Swiss and Russian citizenship. This information was provided by the managing partner of the legal firm Leolex in Switzerland, Roman Kudinov, speaking with “Vedomosti.” Also aware of this existing practice in Switzerland is Ekaterina Popova from the multi-family office ITSWM.

According to Kudinov, issues arose for several clients of UBS and Credit Suisse who hold dual citizenship. They all pay taxes in Switzerland and have no income or tax obligations in Russia. The legal bureau is considering the possibility of going to court on behalf of these clients, including potential claims of coercion and discrimination.

Currently, Swiss banks are closely scrutinizing their clients’ connections to Russia, says Popova. She cites an example from her practice where one bank closed the account of a Swiss citizen (who does not have a Russian passport) because he transferred a few hundred euros to his grandmother in Russia many years ago.

According to the head of the banking practice at the legal firm Amond & Smith, Ivan Tikhonenko, one Swiss bank refused to open accounts for several Israeli citizens who hold Russian citizenship, demanding documentary evidence of renunciation of Russian citizenship for further interaction.

The decision of individual Swiss banks to close accounts for clients with dual citizenship is driven by compliance requirements, according to Artem Kasumyan, a lawyer at the Delcredere law firm, as the presence of a Russian passport prompts banks to conduct additional checks.

By raising the threshold for new Russian clients to $5–10 million, Swiss banks are responding to the limitations of sanction regulation, not allowing Russian citizens to deposit more than 100,000 Swiss francs in one financial institution.

In Switzerland, a Russian passport is considered a “black mark” due to banks’ concerns about potential secondary sanctions. Banks classify Russian citizenship as a high-risk category and may impose special servicing conditions, such as increased fees.

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