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Financial Action Task Force to examine Switzerland again

The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, an inter-governmental body based in Paris, is to make a third examination of Switzerland as a financial centre.

This content was published on September 7, 2000 - 17:15

The Task Force, of which Switzerland is a member, is to examine in particular the role of Swiss banks in accepting funds from the family of the late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha.

It is calling for stronger legal penalties to be taken against banks and those responsible for money laundering offences.

The executive secretary of the Task Force, Patrick Moulette, said that since the last examination in 1997/98, Switzerland had made progress in the fight against money laundering.

However, he said questions remained over legal issues and the application of the law. A third examination in 2001/2002 is aimed at clarifying the situation.

The decision comes only three days after six Swiss banks were reprimanded by the Federal Banking Commission for "serious violations" in their dealings with the Abacha regime.

In a report after investigating 19 banks, the Banking Commission also pleaded for tougher measures, arguing that current law and penalties for violation of due diligence were neither appropriate nor adequate.

Switzerland has frozen $670 million in response to Nigeria's search for funds stashed abroad by Abacha. Nigeria claims he also had accounts in Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Britain, Belgium, Germany and France.

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