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
which he knows, or should know, are the proceeds of a crime (Art. 10 StGB).
Definition of crime
Art. 10 StGB
1 This statutory provision distinguishes crimes from minor offences on the basis of the severity of the respective threatened punishment.
3 Crimes are acts which are punishable with terms of imprisonment of more than three years.
3 Minor offences are acts which are punishable with terms of imprisonment of up to three years or with fines.
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.
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.