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Switzerland wants to ease banking secrecy

AFP · 18 Jan 2012, 17:47

Published: 18 Jan 2012 17:47 GMT+01:00

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Switzerland is considering new legislation to ease banking secrecy in a bid to fight money laundering, the police and justice department said on Wednesday.

The Federal Council wants to amend the law on money laundering to allow authorities to send "specific financial information such as bank account numbers, information on transactions and capital or account balances," to foreign partners, the department said in a statement.

This will help in "the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism" and "strengthen the integrity of Switzerland as a financial centre," it said.

The draft law aims to extend the powers of the Money Laundering Reporting Office of Switzerland (MROS) so it can demand information from third-party intermediaries after a suspicious transaction has been carried out.

Bern on Wednesday approved the draft amendment bill to be submitted for consultation by April 20 this year. In the interim period, cantons and political parties are to establish their positions on the subject.

The MROS has not been able to provide foreign partners with financial information such as bank account numbers because such information is covered by provisions on "banking secrecy or official secrecy," the Swiss department said.

This has had a negative impact on Switzerland, officials said, since many countries apply the principle of reciprocity and thus do not provide any financial information to the MROS.

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In addition, since July 2011, the Egmont Groupt, representing 127 financial intelligence units, has threatened to suspend Switzerland because it is the only member that does not share information with partner authorities.

"Such a suspension could damage the reputation of Switzerland as a financial centre," say Swiss authorities who want to "dismantle the obstacle of secrecy in executing administrative assistance."

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Your comments about this article

2012-01-22 20:54:17 by Global Macro
They are liars. This is not about international terrorism or drug cartels. This is about forcing Swiss banks to assist the U.S. government in enforcing U.S. tax laws. In the U.S. there is a legal standard. A citizen is protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. That is supposed to mean that if the government wants to search for evidence of a crime or seize evidence it must first present its evidence of wrongdoing to a judge. And the judge will sanction the search only if the government has presented credible evidence that there is "probable cause" to believe that a crime has been committed. That standard has been ignored. The U.S. government is enlisting the Swiss banks by force to chase after U.S. citizens at random. They are not tax evaders; they are refugees.
2012-01-18 20:34:38 by HoppSuisse
Someday we will be ashamed we broke and then changed our Banking Privacy laws by betraying our banking customers to their abusive governments.
Privacy is a human right.

This will destroy our banking system, already we have lost hundreds of billions of Chf when customers fled to Singapur, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Do not think that corrupt wealthy people will be affected by this, they will only open accounts in the name of a company.
It is the honest people looking to to keep their money from confiscation that will suffer. When we give up these rights we also give up our own rights to privacy.
Whats next to give up .... our neutrality? .... Our freedom?

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