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24 August 2001
Additional diligence will be required with regard to high-risk countries identified as having inadequate anti-money laundering standards, offshore jurisdictions, high-risk activities known to be susceptible to money laundering and public officials. With respect to this last category, individuals who hold or have held positions of public trust (eg, government officials, senior executives of government or corporations, politicians and important political party officials) and their families and close associates require heightened scrutiny.
The Wolfsberg Principles outline the practice to be used when identifying unusual or suspicious activities, and establish guidelines on supervision, control, responsibilities, reporting and training for employees. Participating banks must establish an adequately staffed and independent department responsible for the prevention of money laundering.
Adoption of the Wolfsberg Principles will have little practical impact on banks located in Switzerland, as national law already imposes stringent obligations on Swiss banks in relation to the identification of clients. However, the fact that major international private banks have decided to join forces to combat money laundering is a further step towards protecting the global banking system from involvement in money laundering schemes. The Swiss Banking Commission is particularly sensitive to any initiative in this respect.
The Wolfsberg Principles and a list of participating banks can be found at www.wolfsberg-principles.com.
For further information on this topic please contact Guy-Philippe Rubeli at Pestalozzi Lachenal Patry by telephone (+41 22 80 94 500) or by fax (+41 22 80 94 501) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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