GwG – object, aim / purpose

The Swiss Money Laundering Act (Geldwäschereigesetz – “GwG”) is a framework act. It consequently contains general provisions which are set out in greater detail in flanking ordinances. The GwG governs the:

  • combating of money laundering within the meaning of Art. 305bis of the Swiss Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuches – “StGB”)
  • combating of terrorism finance within the meaning of Art. 260quinquies Para. 1 StGB
  • safeguarding of due diligence in conjunction with financial transactions.

The GwG aims to prevent the proceeds of crime being channelled into the legitimate economy. Furthermore, assets should not be able to be used to commit crimes – i.e. terrorism; all possible financial backing for terrorism is to be prevented. Furthermore, the GwG also aims to help protect Switzerland’s reputation as a financial centre. The further objective of due diligence in conjunction with financial transactions is to be safeguarded by the imposition of specific due diligence obligations set out in the GwG itself (Art. 3 – 8 GwG).

To achieve the aforementioned objectives, the GwG imposes:

  • due diligence obligations (uniform minimum standards);
  • duties in the event of suspected money laundering and terrorism finance (inter alia reporting).