Money laundering proving tough nut to crack

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MAY 27, 2016

Despite a focused international crackdown lasting several years, the BSI bank scandal shows that the dirty stains of money laundering refuse to come out in the wash.  BSI is accused in both Switzerland and Singapore of aiding and abetting large-scale corruption.

The Swiss bank is one of seven being investigated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) on similar charges. FINMA chief executive Mark Branson warned that the “risk posed by money laundering is on the increase in Switzerland”.

Despite setting up a global system to automatically exchange tax information, the lawyer who runs the Offices of Philip Marcovici in Hong Kong, insists that there are still holes in the system. The most significant outstanding problem area, in his view, is ensuring compliance from some emerging economies that do not want to exchange information automatically.

Last month, FINMA said it is investigating 20 banks in relation to 1MDB and the Brazilian Petrobras corruption scandal. Along with BSI, it has opened enforcement proceedings against six other banks.

Last November, FINMA said it had launched enforcement proceedings against three Swiss banks in relation to the Petrobras affair. The Attorney General has identified 300 accounts from 30 international banks in its Petrobras probe.

The Swiss Justice Ministry has frozen millions of dollars relating to criminal investigations of FIFA in the US and Switzerland. US prosecutors have named several Swiss banks in relation to their investigations.