By our correspondent
According to the sources of Daily Notable, Switzerland said on Wednesday it had proposed new rules that would tighten perceived cracks in its money-laundering regulations, make lawyers and advisers responsible for reporting risks and strengthen oversight of legal entities such as trusts.
The new rules, proposed by the Swiss government, will be submitted to parliament in 2024 after consultation.
Switzerland, whose banks make it the world’s largest manager of offshore wealth, has long struggled to combat its old image as a place where criminals stash ill-gotten gains. It routinely exchanges bank account information with more than 100 countries.
But it has faced international pressure to shed more light on the murky world of corporate ownership, where many companies and entities such as trusts obscure the identity of the real beneficiaries.
If the new rules are adopted, due diligence and reporting obligations will apply to lawyers, accountants and other corporate advisers who set up trusts or holding companies or negotiate real estate transactions.
The government also detailed its plans to create a central register to track who actually owns legal entities as part of a crackdown on money laundering through shell companies, first revealed last October.
The new register, to be kept at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Police, would detail the beneficial owners of companies and other legal entities, with an authority within the Ministry of Finance conducting checks of the register and imposing sanctions where necessary.
The rules would also toughen the obligations of banks, firms and service providers to investigate and monitor the risks of sanctions violations among their clientele – a major topic of international concern since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Under the proposed rules, all future real estate transactions would also be subject to thorough scrutiny, while cash payments for precious metals and precious stones such as gold and diamonds would be subject to money laundering checks above 15,000 Swiss francs ($17,055.14) from the current 100,000 francs.