GwG – mutual assistance

Cooperation with domestic public authorities

In order to ensure the expeditious processing and enforcement of the Money Laundering Act,

  • the FINMA,
  • the Swiss Casino Commission, and
  • the Report Office (MROS)

may, within the context of the standard statutory instruments of mutual assistance, forward data and documents and provide information without this being deemed to be in breach of official secrecy rules.

In order to ensure maximum transparency about the impact of the preventative measures, the Report Office furthermore informs the FINMA and the Swiss Casino Commission about decisions taken by the cantonal law enforcement agencies.

Within this context, the law enforcement agencies are obliged pursuant to Art. 29a GwG to

  • forward all pending legal proceedings to the Report Office without delay, and
  • to forward judgements and writs of nolle prosqui, including grounds, and
  • to report decrees to the Report Office which they have issued on the basis of a compliant.

Apart from this, the law enforcement agencies have the power to forward to the FINMA and to the Swiss Casino Commission all information and documents which these request. The precondition for this, however, is that such communications do not undermine the criminal proceedings.

Before the FINMA or the Swiss Casino Commission intervenes in a financial intermediary, the approach must first be agreed with the responsible law enforcement agency. This means that received information and documents may be forwarded only following consultation.

Cooperation with non-domestic public authorities

The procedures relating to cooperation between the Report Office and non-domestic public authorities have already been set out in Art. 13 Para. 2 of the Federal Act of 7 October 1994 concerning the Central Criminal Police Offices of the Federal Government:

In addition, the Report Office may also forward personal data to non-domestic public authorities on the basis of a law or treaty. Forwarding is furthermore possible (cf. Art. 32 Para. 2 GwG) if:

  • the information is required exclusively to combat money laundering or terrorism finance (Art. 260quinquies Para. 1 StGB5);
  • a Swiss request for information requires grounds;
  • this is in the interest of the respective person, and if this person has agreed or if his agreement may be presumed under the circumstances.

It is essentially the case that the exchange of information with non-domestic public authorities must be performed in anonymised form, i.e. the name of the reporting financial intermediary or of his personnel may not be forwarded.

Non-domestic report offices – overview of the Egmont Group

The Egmont Group brings together the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU), i.e. the report offices of many states (mostly comprising police or financial office departments) within the context of a free association. The Group is named after the venue used for its first meeting in the year 1995, the Egmont-Arenberg Palace in Brussels.

The aim of the Group is to promote contacts between its members, whereby attention focuses in particular on the exchange of information about suspicions relating to international efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism finance. The Group issues recommendations. These are used inter alia by the EU, as well as by the Financial Task Force (FATF), as the basis for its decisions.

List of current members | egmontgroup.org

In respect of the cooperation with non-domestic public authorities, it is important to note that there are plans to expand the powers of the MROS as follows:

  1. Power to exchange information with non-domestic partner offices (under applicable law, the forwarding of financial information is not permitted; vice versa, the MROS also does not receive any financial information from non-domestic offices)
  1. Power to independently conclude agreements on technical cooperation (“MoU”, the power to conclude agreements currently lies with the Federal Council)
  1. Power to demand information from third-party financial intermediaries (i.e. those financial intermediaries which have not reported suspicions of money laundering – in order to complement reports which have already been issued)

The results of the consultation on the planned GwG amendment have already been published by the Federal Council, and the draft law has already been passed. This is now before parliament.