Money laundering

Apart from the provision concerning applicability to “financial intermediaries”, the Federal Act on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance in the Financial Sector (official title: Bundesgesetz über die Bekämpfung der Geldwäscherei und der Terrorismusfinanzierung im Finanzsektor (Geldwäschereigesetz – “GwG”)) does not itself contain any definition of the term “money laundering”.

Drawing upon the criminal offence set out under of Art. 305bis of the Swiss Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuches – “StGB”), to which Art. 1 GwG makes reference, “money laundering” is committed by whosoever performs an action which is intended:

  • to thwart
  • the tracing or confiscation of
  • assets,

which he knows, or should know, are the proceeds of a crime (Art. 10 StGB).

Definition of crime

Financial transaction

Against the backdrop of the focus of the Money Laundering Act on financial transactions, the “assets” affected by money laundering are taken to mean those which are typically traded in the financial sector, i.e. accepted, held for safekeeping, invested or transferred.

Financial intermediary

The Money Laundering Act covers financial intermediaries. A financial intermediary is a person who acts as an intermediary in the financial sector, i.e. who accepts, holds for safekeeping, invests or transfers third-party assets on an essentially professional basis.