SWISS PARLIAMENT AMENDS THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING ACT AND (INADVERTENTLY?) INTRODUCES NEW COMPLIANCE DUTIES12 May 2021 By Daniel Lucien Bühr, Adam El-Hakim, Tabea Tsering Segessenmann
On 19 March 2021, the Swiss Parliament adopted the revised Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) in the context of the Federal Government’s legislative initiative aimed at implementing recent FATF recommendations. Absent a public referendum, which at this stage seems unlikely, the revised AMLA is expected to enter into force in the coming months.
An important revision of the AMLA concerns the duty imposed under Art. 9 on financial intermediaries to report suspicious activities to the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS, the Swiss Financial Intelligence Unit). Under the current act, financial intermediaries must immediately file a suspicious activity report (SAR) in case of “actual knowledge of or reasonable grounds to suspect” a criminal origin of the assets. Case law requires financial intermediaries to file a SAR in case of a simple suspicion (“un simple doute”).
The newly introduced Art. 9 paragraph 1quater clarifies the meaning of “reasonable grounds to suspect ” in paragraph 1 and therefore, technically, does not introduce a new SAR threshold. However, it clarifies that a duty to report exists when at least one concrete indicium or two or more (simple) indicia give reason to suspect money laundering and additional clarifications under Art. 6 AMLA fail to alleviate the suspicion. Our view is that the new Art. 9 paragraph 1quater , which was meant to raise the threshold for SARs, will not result in less SARs, but (unintended?) additional duties for intermediaries.
The full article is available here.