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Record year for money laundering tip-offs

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© Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The number of reports of suspected money laundering jumped by about 25% in Switzerland last year.

According to the Federal Money Laundering Reporting OfficeExternal link, 7,705 reports were filed in 2019, compared to 6,126 the previous year.

The office was able to process 4,074 of these reports last year, and forwarded about half (2,024) to the law enforcement agencies, as it stated in its annual reportExternal link published on Thursday.

By the end of 2019, there were still 6,095 suspicious cases – including thousands from previous years – awaiting processing. This is about one fifth more than at the end of 2018.

114 suspected terrorism cases

The total amount of assets reported under suspicion of money laundering in 2019 amounted to CHF12.9 billion ($13.2 billion) as of November 22, when the office switched to a new internal data system.

As in previous years, these assets originated mainly from suspected fraud or corruption offences. Almost all reports were made by banks or payment service providers. In contrast to the banks, the number of reports from asset managers, trustees, lawyers and notaries has not increased in recent years.

The office received 114 reports of suspected terrorist financing (down from 132 in 2018). Only 13.4% of these reports were forwarded to the judicial authorities. In more than three quarters of the cases, the reports were triggered by newspaper reports (35%), transaction monitoring (24%) or information from third parties (19%).

At the beginning of 2020, the office introduced a new online systemExternal link for submitting reports.

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