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Switzerland Tightens Anti-Laundering Laws

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

11 July 2002

The Swiss Federal Banking Commission announced this week that the jurisdiction's 'know your customer' requirements are to be tightened again, in order to further assist in the international campaign against money laundering and terrorist financing.

In a statement released on Monday, the commission revealed that the country's money laundering laws are already stricter than those in place in a number of other key financial centres, but that: 'the banking commission feels that the [current Swiss] money laundering ordinance could be even stricter in some areas.'

Key changes include closer monitoring of customers in 'high risk business relationships', and 'politically exposed persons' who may be in a position to seek bribes or embezzle government funds.

The banking commission revealed that the latter measure was proposed in response to high profile cases of money laundering - such as those of the late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha, and the Peruvian former Intelligence Chief, Vladimiro Montesinos - in which Swiss banks were found to have handled stolen or illegal funds.

The draft ordinance will now undergo a three month public consultation period.

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