Federal Council adopts dispatch on implementation of revised FATF recommendations

Bern, 13.12.2013 - During its meeting today, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on the new Federal Act for Implementing the Revised Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations for the attention of parliament. The bill aims to enhance the effectiveness of the fight against money laundering and takes into account developments in international financial crime. In addition, the Federal Council decided to appoint an interdepartmental working group.

Based on the results of the consultation procedure, the Federal Council is proposing in its revised bill changes in the three following areas: transparency in the case of bearer shares, introduction of predicate offences in the area of tax and the suspicious activity reporting system. A series of technical changes proposed by the cantons and interested parties have also been taken into consideration. The law introduces changes in seven areas as follows:

  • Improved transparency in the case of legal entities and bearer shares, whereby the requirements of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes are also met
  • More stringent obligations for financial intermediaries when identifying the beneficial owners of legal entities
  • Extension of the term "politically exposed person" (PEP) to include domestic PEPs and international organisation PEPs, as well as introduction of corresponding risk-based due diligence obligations
  • Introduction of a predicate offence for serious cases in the area of direct taxation and extension of the existing criminal offence of smuggling in the customs area to indirect taxation
  • Mandatory involvement of a financial intermediary for cash payments of more than CHF 100,000 for purchases of movable or immovable property
  • Increased effectiveness of the system for reporting suspicious activity
  • Improved implementation of the FATF standard regarding financial sanctions related to terrorism and terrorist financing.

Switzerland attaches great importance to maintaining a morally sound financial centre, which guarantees its appeal for international investors. It regularly adapts its legislation for combating money laundering and terrorist financing in order to take account of new risks and the development of international standards.

Switzerland has a robust and comprehensive system for combating money laundering. However, certain adjustments are needed in order to effectively implement the revised recommendations of 2012 in Switzerland and remedy some of the deficiencies identified during the FATF country evaluation of 2005. The FATF will again conduct a mutual evaluation in Switzerland in 2015 in order to examine the technical compliance of Switzerland's system with the 40 revised recommendations. Moreover, the new round of evaluations, which will be carried out in all FATF member states, will focus particularly on the effectiveness of the systems for combating money laundering and will examine how well they take account of the risks in the area of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Interdepartmental working group

The Federal Council also decided to strengthen the coordination of the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing within the Confederation. To this end, it has appointed a permanent interdepartmental working group under the leadership of the Federal Department of Finance and made up of representatives of the affected authorities. The working group will commence its work in 2014. One of its key tasks will be to assess the relevant risks at national level.

By means of this measure, the Federal Council will implement the corresponding FATF recommendation regarding national risk assessment. This new instrument will also enable Switzerland to optimise its system by strengthening the areas with high risk potential in a targeted manner and relieving those where the risk potential is lower. Finally, the analyses carried out by the working group will serve to support financial intermediaries in their risk assessment efforts.

Address for enquiries

Anne Césard, Communications, State Secretariat for International Financial Matters SIF
Tel. +41 31 322 62 91, anne.cesard@sif.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance