The Swiss government has proposed letting its spy agency penetrate the country’s famous banking secrecy to snoop on financial transactions that it suspects are funding terrorism, espionage or violent extremism.
Unveiling a draft amendment of the intelligence law for public comment, the cabinet on Thursday pointed out that the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) at present has no power to ask banks and other financial intermediaries for information on people or groups seen as security risks. Switzerland has some of the strictest domestic banking confidentiality laws in the world.
“In the event of serious threats to Switzerland’s security, the FIS will in future be able to clarify financial flows by requesting information on transactions from financial intermediaries,” a government statement said.
This could cover businesses, non-profit organisations or religious institutions suspected of helping to finance terrorist, intelligence or violent extremist activities.
The Federal Administrative Court and the defence minister would have to authorise such requests after consultations with the justice and foreign ministers.
The consultation period runs until September 9.
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