Grounds for suspecting money laundering

Grounds (37 different grounds are listed) for suspecting evidence of business relationships or transactions with heightened risk are set out in the Appendix to the Ordinance of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority concerning the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Prevention of Terrorism Finance (Verordnung der Eidgenössischen Finanzmarktaufsicht über die Verhinderung von Geldwäscherei und Terrorismusfinanzierung “GwV-FINMA”, SR 955.033.0).

I. Adherence to GwG due diligence obligations and actions which must be taken

  1. Identification of the contracting party: ascertaining the identity in the case of a  contractual conclusion before executing the transaction, if:
    1. this involves a (permanent) business relationship, i.e. a contractual relationship
    2. this involves a cash transaction:
      • pay attention to the trigger thresholds (exception: if money laundering or terrorism finance is suspected)
  2. Ascertainment of the beneficial owner
    1. In the case of a cash transaction, only if the trigger threshold is exceeded
  3. Duties of clarification
    1. Nature & purpose of the business relationship
    2. Clarification of business relationship with heightened risk
    3. Clarification of transactions with heightened risk
    4. Unusual or suspicious aspects
  4. Documentation
    • Archiving of documents, records, receipts of significant importance relating to the relationship with the contracting party as well as to the performed transactions
  5. Result/consequences of special clarification (Art. 9, 10 and 10a GwG)
    • Reporting obligation (associated with):
      • asset freeze
      • prohibition of information
    • Discontinuation/rejection of business relationship
    • Continuation of business relationship
  6. Monitoring: further development of the business relationship
  7. Repeat/renewed identification of the contracting party or ascertainment of the beneficial owner
    • Trigger: if doubts arise about the identity of the contracting party or of the beneficial owner
  8. Performance of necessary organisational measures
    • Training and monitoring of the persons active in the GwG field
    • Obligation to carefully select, instruct and monitor the persons active in the GwG field
    • Appointment of responsible individuals and their deputies in the GwG-relevant field
    • Obligation to provide the personnel in the GwG-relevant field with training and further training
    • Drawing up of internal guidelines
    • Creation of internal specialist departments (from a certain size onwards)

II. Reporting obligation and asset freeze (Art. 9, 10 and 10a GwG)

1. Reporting obligation

Grounds for triggering the reporting obligation to the Report Office:

  • Knowledge or reasonable suspicion that assets involved in the business relationship:
    • are linked to a criminal act pursuant to Art. 260ter Fig. 1 or Art. 305bis StGB, or
    • are the proceeds of crime, or
    • are controlled by a criminal organisation, or
    • serve to finance terrorism (Art. 260quinquies Para. 1 StGB).
  • Discontinuation of discussions to establish a business relationship in the event of reasonable suspicion

Form of the report:

  • Written report (fax/first-class post)
  • Use of the official Report Office form (MROS)

2. Asset freeze / prohibition of information

  • Freezing the assets which have been entrusted without delay
    Duration of the asset freeze:
    • until receipt of a ruling from the responsible law enforcement agency
    • at most 5 working days from the time the report was sent to the Report Office
  • Prohibition of information during the asset freeze
    • in the absence of the power of disposal of the assets, the respective financial intermediary must be informed who is able to impose the asset freeze
    • the order issued by the law enforcement agency does not contain any prohibition of information
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