Switzerland's Federal Banking Commission, led by its president, Kurt Hauri (pictured), has been taking more steps to crack down on money-laundering and financial crimes.
Switzerland's Federal Banking Commission, led by its president, Kurt Hauri (pictured), has been taking more steps to crack down on money-laundering and financial crimes. It also warned about the dangers of Internet banking.
In its annual report, the commission reveals it closed 30 illegal financial institutions last year - twice as many as in 1998. There were 19 incidents involving the breaching of banking laws and the remaining cases concerned brokers and stock market traders.
In virtually all the cases, those responsible knew they were involved in illegal activities, said the commission. Legal proceedings are pending against most of them.
In a further move to try to ensure Switzerland improves its reputation and enforces tighter banking secrecy regulations introduced three years ago, the commission assigned supervisors in 12 cases where there were suspicions of misdemeanours.
The commission said several major investigations were continuing. They include funds from a massive corruption affair in Russia and hundreds of millions of francs deposited in banks by the former Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha. A subsidiary of Credit Suisse in Japan is also under investigation.
The commission says much of its work also concentrated on the markets. Self-regulatory bodies in bourses filed more than 50 complaints last year, including concerns about insider trading and share manipulation. Suspected insider trading accounted for most of the requests for legal assistance which Switzerland received from foreign countries.
There was also a warning about Internet banking in the annual report. The commission said there was a danger that the trans-national nature of Internet financial services could result in laws being broken. It pointed to the different banking licence laws as a potential source of difficulty.
Turning to its own operations, the commission said it had lost an increasing number of staff members to private industry. It lost 12 per cent of its staff last year, including six specialists, to the private sector.
swissinfo with agencies