Money laundering in the financial sector is nothing new under the sun. A new report makes mention of how as many as 15 Swiss banks could be involved in a major money laundering scheme. In doing so, these financial institutions expose lenders to unnecessary risks, which will create a whole new set of problems down the line.
Swiss Banks Are Not As Innocent As They Seem
According to the report issued by FINMA, it appears that more than a dozen Swiss banks are somewhat involved in money laundering practices. Criminal proceedings were opened against Falcon Private Bank last week, as they did not take the necessary precautions to prevent money laundering from taking place.
While it is true that Swiss banks seem more appealing to criminals, money laundering is a serious offense. For now it remains unclear as to why FINMA thinks these banks are in the “red zone” of money laundering, as very few details were revealed. One of their spokespeople, however, told Reuters that they are using a warning system that triggers notifications when a money laundering risk occurs.
These findings do not necessarily mean that the Swiss banks in question are aware of these money laundering risks. Every institution has to adhere to specific guidelines, although it is possible that not all of them follow them in a strict manner right now. FINMA stated how these banks are “partially exposed” to money laundering, which could mean about anything right now.
For now, these particular financial institutions are being monitored by FINMA to see if any further discrepancies arise. Additionally, they have to provide FINMA with extra information. The majority of these banks seems to be active in emerging markets, which pose some financial risks by default.
It does not appear that any of these banks will have their licenses withdrawn just yet. Until there is irrefutable evidence that these banks are committing money laundering acts while being aware of the situation, that will not happen. Every institution deserves a chance to improve their way of doing business, but a failure to do so will still result in severe penalties.
What is rather interesting is how FINMA has opened a separate investigation against one Swiss bank which allegedly has ties to FIFA. Not too long ago, a major corruption investigation was launched against the former FIFA upper management. Although no specifics have been revealed as of yet, this is another example of how banks should not be trusted by default.
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