There were a record number of reports to the Swiss money-laundering watchdog in 2017, worth a “striking” CHF16 billion ($16.2 billion), the agency said on Friday.
The Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS)external link said it had recorded almost 4,700 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), which was up from 2,909 in 2016.
“In two years, the number of SARs has almost doubled. In 2017, MROS received an average of 18 reports per working day, i.e. over 60 % more than in the previous year,” it said in its annual report.external link
It transmitted 3,653 cases to the relevant prosecuting authorities, a rate of almost 65%.
“Having more than tripled, the increase in asset values involved in submitted SARs to more than CHF16 billion, is undoubtedly the most striking development in 2017,” the reported stated. It noted, however, that around CHF7 billion came from a single case cluster.
Suspected bribery once again headed the list of predicate offices (to money-laundering) – ahead of fraud, the leader in 2016 - with more than 1,000 SARs.
Cases involving suspected financing of terrorism almost doubled to 51. However, the report’s forward cautioned about seeing this as a definite trend, as the “number of SARs linked to this crime fluctuate from one year to the next”. What remained stable was the number of these cases transmitted to the prosecuting authorities at circa 33%, it said.