Anti-money laundering laws to be tightened

The Swiss cabinet wants to adapt anti-money laundering rules to international standards Keystone

The Swiss government wants to reinforce money laundering legislation to bring it into line with international standards.

This content was published on January 12, 2005 - 14:22

Proposed changes to the law include extending the list of crimes to cover insider trading and human trafficking.

The finance ministry said on Wednesday it was looking to step up the international fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The measures will ensure Switzerland’s full compliance with recommendations laid down by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2003.

The cabinet proposals aim to extend the list of crimes connected with money laundering to include commercial piracy, fake goods, human trafficking and certain forms of smuggling, in addition to insider trading.

Under the proposals, property managers, traders in precious stones and precious metals as well as art dealers would have to meet the legal standards and apply due diligence procedures.

Accountants and notaries would be among other businesses affected by the new measures.

Consultation period

Political parties, organisations and other groups now have three months to respond, before the cabinet finalises its proposals for discussion in parliament.

In 2003, the Paris-based FATF – set up by the Group of Seven industrialised nations – approved new guidelines for its member countries, which include Switzerland.

Switzerland introduced the criminal offence of money laundering in its penal code in 1990 in an effort to prevent money derived from illegal activities being fed into the economy.

The first anti-money-laundering legislation, which covers all financial institutions - not only banks - was introduced in 1998. It forces these institutions to report suspicious transactions to the authorities.

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In brief

The FATF is a Paris-based organisation responsible for coordinating global efforts to combat money laundering.

It was set up in 1989 and currently has 33 members, including Switzerland.

In 1990 it published guidelines for its members. The list was updated in 2003.

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Key facts

1990: Money laundering becomes a criminal offence in Switzerland
1998: All financial institutions - not only banks – have to report suspicious transactions under the Money Laundering Act.
2003: The Financial Action Task Force, including Switzerland, agrees to impose stricter rules to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

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