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Liechtenstein to ban anonymous bank accounts

Liechtenstein no longer wants to be described as a haven for money laundering. The principality's parliament has decided to take a series of measures, including banning anonymous bank accounts.

This content was published on September 14, 2000 - 22:30

The modification of the due diligence law, the first part of a series of measures, went through parliament without any opposition on Thursday. It concerns mainly lawyers and fiduciaries that could, up until now, hide their clients' identity from banks.

As of next year, they will have to reveal their clients' names for each new affair. For older affairs, the law provides a two-year transition period.

The new law also provides new ways of controlling funds managed in Liechtenstein. The necessity to declare funds of doubtful origin has also been extended for banks.

Banks and fund management companies will now have to point out potential money laundering as soon as contact has been made with the customer and no longer after a transaction has been completed.

This revision of the due diligence law is part of a series of measures carried out to improve Liechtenstein's image as a financial centre. Next up is an improvement of the judicial assistance law, aimed at reducing the time the country's judges and prosecutors take to reply to requests for judicial co-operation.

Fines for money laundering should also be raised.

The principality had been under fire ever since the German secret services accused the country of abetting economic crime. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had also placed Liechtenstein on a blacklist of countries accused of money laundering.

swissinfo with agencies


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