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Swiss FINMA calls for different reporting culture in combating money laundering

Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority CEO MarkBranson on April 7 asked lenders to "do more" to combat moneylaundering, following the leak of files from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Branson said that since Switzerland is the world's largestcenter for cross-border wealth management for private clients, Swiss financialinstitutions are "naturally exposed to a greater risk of moneylaundering." He highlighted the need for a different culture in thereporting system, encouraging banks to file a report as soon as they haveconcrete suspicions and not wait until the media has taken up the scandal.

"We need a culture in which bank employees feelpersonally committed to combating money laundering," Branson added."The aim for everyone in the Swiss financial sector must be to avoid beingdrawn into any more big money laundering scandals."

He also said that existing anti-money laundering rules needto be applied systemically and consistently by lenders and their staff.

The authority decided to categorize all Swiss banksaccording to their money laundering risk profile, which means the more clientswith off-shore structures a bank has, the higher its money laundering riskrating, Branson said, while noting that at present 14 banks have "a redrating." The authority is "taking action" at these companies, headded.