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Swiss government to monitor corporate ownership in fight against money laundering

The Swiss government has planned to create a central registry to track who owns legal entities in the fight against money laundering through front companies.

The cabinet asked the Ministry of Finance to draft specific proposals by mid-2023 that could increase transparency by making it easier to identify business owners. This decision aims to “strengthen the prevention and prosecution of financial crime and therefore the integrity and reputation of Switzerland as a financial center and place of business”, he said in a press release.

Switzerland’s line of action

Switzerland, whose banks make it one of the world’s largest offshore wealth managers, has long sought to combat its former image as a place where criminals hide ill-gotten gains, as it regularly exchanges bank account information. with over 100 countries.

The country has faced international pressure to shed more light on the murky world of corporate ownership, where many companies hide the identities of true beneficiaries. The goal was to create a central registry to identify owners and update beneficial ownership information.

The register should be accessible to the competent authorities, but not to the public. The goal is to find a solution that is as effective and efficient as possible. The cabinet also asked the Ministry of Finance to also consider measures to strengthen the anti-money laundering rules, for example by widening their scope to include legal professions. Parliament has in the past rejected the idea of ​​subjecting lawyers and financial advisers to the same rules that banks face when it comes to reporting suspicious transactions.