The FIFA money laundering scandal has once again shone a light on the perils of banking privacy in Switzerland, and it looks like change is coming. The Swiss Bankers Association announced this week that it supports tougher AML requirements more in line with international standards.
Long considered a haven for secret bank accounts, Switzerland resisted tougher internal regulations for AML and Counter-Terrorist Financing. However, a state-sponsored analysis of its financial system noted the nation remains prone to money laundering activity, an embarrassing reality borne out by the recent FIFA scandal and indictments driven by U.S. investigators.
A New York Times report noted that new AML / CTF regulations will take effect in 2016 and will focus on clearer identification of Ultimate Beneficial Owners of banking customers. A statement by the Swiss Bankers’ Association noted that combatting terrorist financing and money-laundering crimes must be a Compliance priority in the nation’s financial industry.
Next year, financial institutions will have to identify any individual who owns more than 25 percent of a company or who is otherwise identified as in control.
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