Published:  04:51 AM, 11 June 2019

Threads in Swiss illicit wealth probe

Threads in Swiss illicit wealth probe

Switzerland has informed the South Asian countries about suspected illegal wealth deposited in its banks seeking to get rid of the idea that the country is a safe haven for black money.

The Money Laundering Reporting Office of Switzerland (MROS) seeks cooperation from overseas authorities to discover cases of money laundering and terror finance.

Under the Swiss Money Laundering Act, the MROS receives and analyses Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in connection with money laundering and forwards them to the law enforcement agencies of different South Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

The financial intelligence units of other countries can make requests to MROS for mutual administrative assistance and for exchange of information regarding money laundering and terror finance cases.

MROS received 795 enquiries from the financial intelligence units of 104 countries in 2018 while 711 enquiries from 94 countries were received in 2017. Swiss authorities sent notices to 11 Indian clients in May 2019 seeking clarification about their money deposited in different Swiss banks.

Switzerland informed in 2018 that Bangladeshi clients have deposited 4 thousand 100 crore taka in a number of Swiss banks. US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Panama Papers and Paradise Papers have so far named 82 Bangladeshi businessmen who are involved with money laundering. Global Financial Integrity (GFI) disclosed in September 2017 that 6 lakh crore taka was laundered to foreign countries from Bangladesh during last ten years.

Financial sources have said that Bangladesh became a member of Egmont Group headquartered in Canada in 2013 to exchange information about money laundering and terror finance. Egmont Group has 147 member countries.Money laundering is rampant in some African countries too.

Another organization Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is headquartered in Paris, formulates the international standard for combating money laundering worldwide.

Established in 1989 by top functionaries of countries and organizations from different parts of the world, the FATF is an international platform of governments that puts forward certain rules and principles for halting illegal money transfer, retrieving laundered money and it works for the execution of these regulations.

Since money laundering is one of the ways in which criminal gangs including radical terrorists fuel their activities, unauthorized monetary transactions and terrorism move ahead together. Therefore, FATF implements anti money laundering laws to safeguard countries from the assaults of extremists who often utilize laundered money for serving their evil purposes.

FATF conceptualized a number of recommendations which were endorsed in February 2012 to equip its 34 member countries and two member organizations with a broad cluster of initiatives to resist money laundering. Money laundering is a global menace in the present time keeping in view the expansion of fanatic groups who procure arms and explosives to unleash reign of terror throughout the world.

Many countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Bangladesh, Russia, India, Turkey, Middle East, Pakistan and some more nations have been so far shaken with attacks by terrorists who believe in religious fanaticism.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) is another important organization which takes part in the fight against money laundering. IMF has 188 member countries. Since 2000 till now IMF has geared up and enhanced its functionalities globally to prevent money laundering and to recover laundered money.

According to IMF, money launderers target countries with less good governance, poor transparency and fragile administrative system wherefrom financial perpetrators can transfer money to overseas locations. Particularly countries which suffer from irrecoverable defaulted loans, mishandled funds, corrupted banking activities and shady bureaucracy very easily become a hunting ground for domestic and international money laundering syndicates.


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