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  1. Switzerland steps up efforts to tackle black money menace

Switzerland steps up efforts to tackle black money menace

Upping the vigil against illicit fund flows, Switzerland has tightened its anti-money laundering norms with new diligence rules, including greater scrutiny of ecclesiastical foundations.

By: | New Delhi | Published: November 12, 2015 9:06 PM
Black money

Upping the vigil against illicit fund flows, Switzerland has tightened its anti-money laundering norms with new diligence rules, including greater scrutiny of ecclesiastical foundations. (Thinkstock)

Upping the vigil against illicit fund flows, Switzerland has tightened its anti-money laundering norms with new diligence rules, including greater scrutiny of ecclesiastical foundations.

Besides, the Swiss government has decided to pass on costs related to international administrative assistance on tax matters to the person or financial institution concerned in case the amount is “extraordinarily high”.

Switzerland has come under international pressure, including from India, amid concerns that black money is stashed in Swiss banks, that are well known for their banking secrecies.

In recent times, the alpine nation has taken various measures to tackle the menace of illicit fund flows and now the Swiss Federal Council has adopted the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (AMLO).

The ordinance, which has strict provisions to keep a tab on flow of unaccounted money, would come into force from January 1, 2016.

“The new due diligence obligations and reporting duties for traders set out in the AMLA (Anti-Money Laundering Act) will be fleshed out in the new AMLO.

“They will be applied when traders accept cash payments of more than CHF 100,000 in the course of trading activities,” the Swiss government said in a release on Wednesday.

Besides, the Council has decided to improve transparency in the law on foundations whereby ecclesiastical foundations would now have to be registered in the commercial register.

“For ecclesiastical foundations which already exist, the details of this obligation will be specified in greater detail in the Commercial Register Ordinance,” the release said.

The new legal provisions on the reporting system for financial intermediaries would be implemented by amending the Ordinance on Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland.

Meanwhile, under a new provision in the revised Tax Administrative Assistance Ordinance, Switzerland has defined in greater detail the possibility of passing on the costs of international administrative assistance to the person or financial institution concerned.

“Under the Tax Administrative Assistance Act, the Federal Tax Administration can pass on costs if they are extraordinarily high and the person concerned or the information holder contributed substantially to the costs generated through their inappropriate behaviour.

“The new provision of the Tax Administrative Assistance Ordinance describes what is to be deemed an extraordinarily high sum and lists the components of the costs that can be passed on,” the government said in a separate release.

In February 2012, the Financial Action Task Force had come out with revised international standards concerning the combating of money laundering and terrorist financing. The Swiss Parliament had adapted various laws to these standards.

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