Pope appoints new Vatican bank head

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Pope Benedict XVI appointed a German lawyer, Ernst von Freyberg, on Friday 15 February, to head the Vatican’s central bank, currently under investigation by Italian authorities. The bank, officially known as the Institute for Works of Religion, has been without a director for nine months, after it came under scrutiny in an […]

Drugs & money laundering brothers get light sentences

Deal for first 2 of 19 arrested in French, N African drug, tax evasion scam GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Two brothers who played key roles in a large North African-French-Swiss fraud scheme that involved money laundering for drug runners and supplying cash for French tax evaders, were given prison sentences Tuesday 29 January, in Geneva. The […]

Geneva-Morocco drug and money laundering ring: denials

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The head of the presumed money laundering ring that was uncovered by police in Geneva and Paris last week, has denied, through his lawyer, that he was handling money tainted by drugs, the Tribune de Geneve reported Monday. The Swiss man of Moroccan origin, head of a financial firm in Geneva, was […]

Geneva financial advisor in court over cocaine money laundering

Two tons of coke money covered up, prosecutors say GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – An independent Geneva financial advisor in his 50s was in federal criminal court in Bellinzona Monday to face charges of money laundering and working with drug traffickers in Spain to import two tons of cocaine between 1997 and 2004. The drugs were shipped […]

Uzbekistan assets frozen by Swiss gov’t

BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss public broadcasting is reporting that hundreds of millions of Swiss francs have been frozen by Swiss banks as federal anti-money laundering authorities clamp down on Uzbekistan assets. Bern has not confirmed the reports. RTS reports that assets have been blocked of people close to President Islam Karimov, who has been in […]

HSBC fined $28 million in Mexico

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND –  The Mexican subsidiary of London-based HSBC bank has been fined $28 million for money laundering. The National Securities and Banking Commission of Mexico said the bank failed to prevent money laundering through some of its accounts. This is not the first time HSBC has been under the scope of authorities. A US […]

Rain forest fund targets UBS in Zurich court

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Bank UBS is being accused of lack of due diligence by Swiss-based rainforest advocacy group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF). The charges are made in a filing with the Zurich public prosecutor and are linked to corruption in Malaysia in the forestry industry. A month earlier, Geneva Social Democrat Carlo Sommaruga filed a […]

The state of Switzerland: in relatively good shape


Public transparency and money laundering risk remain, but exports, competitiveness and higher education strong GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – ‘Tis the season for a number of comparative tables and measurements, and Switzerland is holding up relatively well. Here’s a quick rundown of the Swiss state of things in a global context: Swiss economy gaining momentum, with exports […]

More bribery behind sharp increase in suspect money flows

MROS, Switzerland, growth in suspicious financial activity reporting in 10 years

Arab spring played a role Numbers are impressive but it’s the criminal tales that are gripping BERN, SWITZERLAND – Switzerland saw a 40 percent increase in 2011 in the number of suspicious activities reports (Sars) to MROS, the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland, the federal office shows in its annual report published Monday 14 May. […]

Canada, US investigations of SNC-Lavalin top man leads to his arrest

Canadians had own investigation, but Swiss reportedly asked for help over money laundering and corruption ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Riadh Ben Aissa was arrested in Switzerland sometime in the past few days, but it’s not yet clear what charges are faced by the former head of global construction SNC-Lavalin, a large Canadian company. The company has […]