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Switzerland To Amend Anti-Money Laundering Law

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Swiss Government is consulting on proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The proposed amendments are intended to take into account the most important recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF's) 2016 Mutual Evaluation Report on Switzerland. In response to the FATF's report, in June 2017 the Federal Council instructed the Federal Department of Finance to prepare a consultation draft to deal with the recommendations while also reinforcing the integrity of the Swiss financial centre.

The Government has now proposed the following:

  • The introduction of due diligence obligations for certain services which concern the establishment, management, or administration of companies and trusts. Activities for operating companies in Switzerland will be excluded due to their low risk;
  • The introduction of an explicit obligation on financial intermediaries to verify information on beneficial owners and to regularly check that client data is up to date, with the frequency and scope of reviews to be based on the degree of risk posed by the contracting party; and
  • Associations which are at risk of being misused for the financing of terrorism or money laundering – namely, those associations which are mainly involved in collecting or distributing assets abroad for charitable purpose – must be entered in the commercial register.

The consultation draft also contains provisions for improving the effectiveness of the suspicious activity reporting system for money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The threshold for cash payments in precious metals and gem trading is to be reduced, and an authorization for the purchase of old precious metals is to be made compulsory.

The consultation will close on September 21.