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Swiss Money Laundering Laws May Be Extended To Art Dealers

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

12 December 2001


It was revealed recently that the Swiss government is considering extending existing money laundering laws to cover art and jewellery trading companies in an attempt to thwart terrorist financing and international money laundering.

This marks the latest in a series of moves designed to prove to the global community that despite the jurisdiction's reputation for strict banking secrecy, it is not a haven for money launderers and tax evaders, and will not shelter criminals or their assets.

However, following the introduction of enhanced legislation on traditional financial institutions and banks in Switzerland, laundering funds through non-traditional channels such as art dealers, jewellery traders, and money changers has become an increasing problem for the authorities: 'A lot of money is moved through trading companies,' Barbara Schaerer, a spokeswoman for legal affairs at the Swiss Foreign Ministry explained to Bloomberg Business News last week.

Although Swiss-based asset managers are already overseen by the country's anti-money laundering unit, the goverment has also announced that is considering whether the sector should be put under the authority of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, which oversees banks, brokers, and investment funds.


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