Accountancy in Switzerland

>> Money Laundering in Switzerland

Switzerland has strict rules to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim is to implement the international standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to the greatest possible extent, and this mechanism expands steadily.

Regulation of money laundering in Switzerland is based on two pillars:

  • money laundering is defined as criminal offence punishable by the criminal authorities;
  • the federal Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) requires financial intermediaries to comply with due diligence and disclosure requirements in respect of client transactions.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA supervises and regulates the Swiss financial market and monitors compliance with the regulations on combating money laundering by all financial service providers (banking and financial sector). For this purpose, all financial service providers must either be affiliated to a self-regulatory organisation recognised by FINMA or be authorised as a directly subordinated financial intermediary supervised by FINMA.

On December 2014, the Swiss Parliament adopted the Federal Act implementing the revised Financial Task Force (FATF) recommendations of 2012. This Acts provides new and revised provisions in the field of anti-money laundering and criminal law, including but not limited to:

  • on 1st July 2015 came into force the provisions on the transparency of legal entities and bearer shares and subsequent amendment of the Code of Obligations:
  • higher transparency of legal entities,

i.e. the ultimate beneficial owner of a legal entity may only be an individual and the individual(s) owning bearer shares and controlling bearer/ registered shares must be put on record by registering with a (nonpublic) company share register to be set up for this purpose by the issuing company or with a special register held by a financial intermediary;

  • strict identification of the ultimate beneficial owner with a riskbased approach and extensive documentation;
  • on 1st January 2016 became effective the provisions on tax predicate offences and the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (serious tax crimes constitute now a predicate offence to money laundering).

Latest version updated 10th November 2017

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