THE US ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING ACT 2020 AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR SWISS BANKS12 February 2021 By Daniel Lucien Bühr, Adam El-Hakim, Tabea Tsering Segessenmann
OVERVIEW AND KEY TAKE-AWAYS
The U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Act 2020 (“AMLA”) expands the ability of U.S. Authorities to request information from Swiss banks that use U.S. correspondent banks. The information may be requested in respect of any bank account of the foreign bank that is related to a pertinent U.S. investigation.
The Swiss banking secrecy and criminal and civil blocking statutes would most likely put Swiss banks confronted with subpoenas under the AMLA between a rock and a hard place. The obligation of confidentiality regarding subpoenas can also put Swiss banks in a difficult situation.
It can be assumed that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Treasury will issue some guidance regarding the application of the AMLA 2020.
Swiss banks should assure themselves of the effectiveness of their internal control systems, in particular their AML systems, and banks that maintain U.S. correspondent accounts should anticipate and treat the risk of subpoenas from U.S. Authorities for records related to any of the banks’ accounts.
Swiss banks would also be well advised to review their standard terms and conditions to ensure that they are authorized to comply with the AMLA and any subpoena issued thereunder, should the need arise.
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