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Guidelines introduced to combat money laundering

New anti-money laundering measures do not just apply to banks

(Keystone)

The international fight against money laundering has stepped up a gear.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – of which Switzerland is a member - has issued some major changes to its guidelines on dirty money.

In future, casinos, real estate agents and dealers of precious metals and stones will be asked to abide by the same measures to tackle money laundering as banks and other financial institutions.

At a meeting in Berlin, FATF members also accepted stricter rules against the financing of terrorism.

"The changes create a comprehensive, consistent and substantially strengthened international framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing," task force members said in a joint statement.

Enforcement

Members of the FATF - set up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - will now start working to implement the revised guidelines.

Switzerland is one of 31 FATF member countries. Two international organisations are also members - the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Although FATF recommendations are not legally binding, Giovanni Colombo - leader of the Swiss delegation in Berlin - said Switzerland was keen to meet all international standards.

"Switzerland will have to adapt its legislation to meet the new requirements," Colombo said.

Changes

Accountants, lawyers, notaries, trust and company service providers are among other businesses and professions affected by the new measures.

Improved transparency requirements have also been adopted, along with stricter rules governing higher-risk customers and politically exposed persons.

A list of crimes that must underpin the money laundering offence have now been specified and the customer due diligence process for financial institutions has been expanded.

With its tradition of client confidentiality, Switzerland has long suffered from a reputation as a safe haven for dirty money.

In a related development, tough new rules to combat money laundering are coming into force on July 1.

The Swiss Federal Banking Commission has imposed tougher regulations on financial institutions, including increased surveillance of higher-risk business relationships.

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In brief

The FATF is a Paris-based organization responsible for coordinating global efforts to stamp out money laundering.

It currently has 33 members. These consist of 31 countries and two international organizations – the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

Switzerland has long suffered from a reputation for being a safe haven for dirty money.

Tough new rules, imposed by the Swiss Federal Banking Commission come into force on July 1.

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