The fallout from a huge leak of Credit Suisse banking data threatened to damage Switzerlands entire financial sector on Monday after the European Parliaments main political grouping raised the prospect of adding the country to a money-laundering blacklist, The Guardian reported.
The European People’s party (EPP), the largest political grouping of the European parliament, called for the EU to review its relationship with Switzerland and consider whether it should be added to its list of countries associated with a high risk of financial crime.
Experts said that such a move would be a disaster for Switzerland’s financial sector, which would face the kind of enhanced due diligence applied to transactions linked to rogue nations including Iran, Myanmar, Syria and North Korea, the report said.
“When Swiss banks fail to apply international anti-money-laundering standards properly, Switzerland itself becomes a high-risk jurisdiction,” said Markus Ferber, the coordinator on economic affairs for the EPP, which represents Europe’s centre-right political parties.
“When the list of high-risk third countries in the area of money laundering is up for revision the next time, the European Commission needs to consider adding Switzerland to that list.”
The investigation, called Suisse secrets, identified clients of the Swiss bank who had been involved in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes, The Guardian reported.
“Bank privacy laws must not become a pretext to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion. The Suisse secrets findings point to massive shortcomings of Swiss banks when it comes to the prevention of money laundering,” Ferber said, adding: “Apparently, Credit Suisse has a policy of looking the other way instead of asking difficult questions.”
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)