Swiss plan to let spy agency snoop on security risk financial flows

Paradeplatz in Zurich, the heart of Switzerland's banking sector © Keystone / Walter Bieri

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.

This content was published on May 19, 2022 - 11:26

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.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.