In 2013 the government passed two draft bills proposing new legislation to combat money laundering and prevent tax evasion. One set of the proposed rules – a key element of Switzerland's white money strategy – introduced new diligence duties for banks and other providers of financial services to the Anti-money Laundering Act in order to keep untaxed money away from the Swiss financial sector.
The Ordinance against Excessive Compensation recently entered into force. It aims to limit executive remuneration by improving corporate governance and giving shareholders increased influence over executive compensation. The new ordinance is particularly striking as it includes penal provisions and provides for the criminal liability of executives who grant or accept certain kinds of excessive compensation.
A recent decision illustrates the extent to which Swiss criminal prosecution authorities may informally exchange secret information with foreign peers. The court interpreted the term 'secret information' broadly. Bank account statements, for example, are secret evidence and must not be transmitted to foreign authorities, while internal case summaries are secret information and can thus be forwarded to foreign authorities.
The government recently opened public consultations for a proposal on a comprehensive overhaul of the Swiss tax crime regime. The new proposal takes a significant step towards implementation of the 'White Money' strategy adopted by the government. It recommends that the cantonal tax authorities be granted extensive powers to investigate suspected tax offences, even in non-serious cases.
In response to a Group of States Against Corruption report the government published a draft bill on the amendment of Swiss anti-corruption laws. The government proposes to supplement the Penal Code with two new provisions concerning bribery in the private sector. The same penalties for punishable conduct will apply and the requirement of a criminal complaint as a prerequisite to prosecution will be abolished.
In response to the political events in North Africa, commonly known as the 'Arab Spring', the Swiss government has proposed new legislation which is intended to create a legal basis for the freezing of assets presumed to have been obtained illegally by foreign political leaders and the restitution of such assets to the countries of origin, outside the framework of international mutual legal assistance proceedings.
New amendments to the Stock Exchange and Securities Trading Act redefine the offences of insider trading and market manipulation, and introduce a new administrative enforcement regime to combat such conduct more effectively. This marks a significant change to Swiss financial markets law and increases the exposure of financial services providers to regulatory and criminal liability risks.
The government recently passed two draft bills proposing new legislation to combat money laundering and prevent tax evasion. The proposed legislation contains certain groundbreaking novelties, including making tax fraud (in its aggravated form) a predicate offence to money laundering. However, it remains to be seen which proposals will be contained in the definitive bills submitted to Parliament for approval.