The number of cases of suspicious financial activity reported by Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) have increased by 35% in 2015 compared to the previous year.
The annual figures released on Tuesday reveal that 2,367 cases of money laundering were flagged compared to 1,753 in 2014. The vast majority of these (91.2%) were reported to the authorities by banks themselves.
The scale of reported money laundering amounted to a little over CHF4.8 billion, an increase of 44.5% over the year before, MROS said in its annual report. The Brazilian Petrobas scandal, as well as other complex cases, were largely responsible for the rise. The average value of a case reported on suspicion of money laundering amounted to little over CHF2 million.
Contrary to previous years, corruption and not fraud, was the leading motivation (594 cases compared to 357 in 2014) behind the cases reported. The MROS received external requests concerning suspicious activity reports (SARs) involving 2,144 foreign nationals and legal entities. The most requests on SARs involved nationals and entities from Germany (198), Russia (148), UK (129), Italy (108) and the United States (91).
A total of 794 money laundering cases were assessed by the courts with a conviction rate of 9%. More than half of these cases have been closed.