|What does money laundering mean?|
Money Laundering is the term applied to the act of concealing the origins of money earned through criminal activities and of releasing it unnoticed into legitimate business activities. Money laundering is most commonly associated with drug trafficking. However, any number of criminal activities may give rise to money laundering, e.g. embezzlement, corruption, blackmail, trafficking in people, to name just a few.
What does Switzerland do against money laundering?
Switzerland has set up what is probably the world´s most comprehensive and effective mechanism for dealing with money from criminal sources. The Swiss Money Laundering Act (in force since 1998) obliges all financial intermediaries (not only banks) to identify all clients and to establish the beneficial owners of the assets ("know your customer"). Furthermore, they must report any justified suspicion of money laundering to the authorities and freeze the suspicious assets. Finally, for more than 20 years now, banks in Switzerland have observed a "Due Diligence Agreement" which contains the "know your customer" rules. The Due Diligence Agreement was a key point of reference when the Money Laundering Law was being drawn up.
Further rules and regulations against money laundering are laid down in the Swiss Criminal Code and the Federal Banking Commission guidelines of 26 March 1998. Moreover, the two major Swiss banks, together with nine other international banks, have committed themselves to applying global due diligence standards within the framework of the "Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles".