Several Swiss banks ?? reprimanded ?? for violating money laundering rules with Venezuelan clients
Several Swiss banks have been reprimanded for violating money laundering rules involving people linked to the Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA, and have been ordered to end all business ties with Venezuelan clients as well as with clients at risk.
The announcement was made by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, FINMA, and is the conclusion of a five-year investigation into some 30 Swiss banks allegedly linked to money laundering or other crimes similar.
Since the investigation began in 2016, five banks have been reprimanded by FINMA, and two former CEOs of private bank Julius Bär and Credit Suisse have been singled out for anti-corruption failures.
In the last case, the regulator and watchdog criticized the Banca Zarattini in Lugano and the CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique in Geneva. FINMA found that between 2041 and 2018, Banca Zarattini breached its anti-money laundering obligations, while CBH Bank between 2012/20 also committed a similar serious breach of supervisory law.
“The two banks did not provide sufficient clarification on the economic context of business relationships and transactions presenting increased risks of money laundering. Adequate documentation was also lacking in these areas, ”he said.
FINMA has temporarily prohibited Banca Zarattini from accepting new Venezuelan and politically exposed persons as clients. The measures imposed on CBH Bank include the termination of all remaining business relationships with Venezuelan customers.
In addition, CBH must examine other particularly risky client relationships and terminate them if necessary, said FINMA.
Banca Zarattini has declared that they fully accept the regulator’s conclusions.
She added that “the breaches only concerned a limited period and a limited number of clients”, adding that she contacted FINMA as soon as it became aware of potential problems and cooperated extensively with the investigation.