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Response from Swiss
Home | Excerpts, from Switzerland Government Website | Excerpts collected from Private Websites Working on Switzerland banking system | ANOTHER PROGRAM FOR FAST-UNTO-DEATH | Representation 18-05-05 | Representation Dated 9th May 2005 | sp

To,

His Excellency President of Federal Republic of Switzerland,

Through, Swiss Ambassador to India: generalsekretaer@eda.admin.ch,

dvsite@eda.admin.ch, Vertretung@ndh.rep.admin.ch,

Ruchita.Jindal@ndh.rep.admin.ch  

 

Thanking you for prompt response with references to my Letter and Email both dated 29th (date of letter changed by pen as 29th) April 2005 through Ms. Ruchita Jindal on behalf of the Swiss Ambassador to India accompanying a the official policy in the form of the transcript of a speech delivered by Ambassador Jacques de Watteville, Head of the Economic and Financial Affairs Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, at the Swiss Press Club, Geneva, on 23rd January 2002. From the said transcript Switzerland equally shown its concerns, with certain reservations, on the issues raised by me in my aforesaid letter. The aforesaid letter and complete transcript in proper order are posted at:

http://milapchoraria.tripod.com/swiss

 

In view of the aforesaid transcript, in principle Swiss Government is against illegal money deposits, in Swiss Banks, by the Money launders, Political or other corrupt practitioners and Tax Evaders and already providing co-operation in judicial matters. At the same time Switzerland claimed new financial centers in different countries providing protective laws for deposit of illegal money. In view of such important admission from the Switzerland, though with certain reservations, before review of my decision to sit on un-definite fast at out side Swiss embassy, I will be happy if the Government of Switzerland provide following details which are in accordance its commitments in principle through aforesaid transcript:-

1.    Volume of the Total Money deposited from India in Switzerland Banks (As per rumors prevailing in India CVC estimated such amount about Sixteen Lakhs of Crores of Rupees equal to $US 400 Billion Dollars)?          

2.    After applying the principle of "know-your-customer", whether Switzerland Banks estimated the volume of amount not relates to "know-your-customer"-principles?, if so kindly specify volume such amounts from India. 

3.                Who will be beneficiary country in respect of the money deposited in violation of the "know-your-customer"-principles? Whether such money is transferred to the country of origin from such deposits arrived or frozen by the Switzerland Government and deposited in its consolidated fund?

4.                Switzerland Government is already providing Judicial co-operation, but in accordance with its commitment with International Treaties, concept of globlisation and newly developed and adopted by various countries the “Right to Information”-principle, why not sharing information with the Government of countries wherefrom money is coming in the Switzerland Banks? 

 

I hope that answer of these questions by the Switzerland will be within the admitted principles by the Switzerland. 

 

With Best Regards,

 

 

(MILAP  CHORARIA) 

Convenor : Movement for Accountability to Public (MAP)  :

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MAP_INDIA

Columnist : For Several DAILY Newspapers in India

Author: A MODEL OF NEW CONSTITUTION FOR INDIA

B-5/52, Sector-7, Rohini,                                                                        

New Delhi-110 085     Email: Milap_choraria@yahoo.com

 

Following important extracts obtained from the aforesaid transcript are forwarded by the Switzerland Government:-

 

“Switzerland's banking secrecy does not protect terrorists, nor does it protect criminal organizations or criminal activities of any nature whatsoever. In such cases, Switzerland does not hesitate to offer international co-operation in judicial matters and to freeze incriminated assets.”

 

“Beyond the adoption of international agreements and appropriate legislation, it is of course also essential that the political will exists to implement them thoroughly - and this is certainly the case in Switzerland.”

 

“Switzerland has also launched initiatives aimed at bringing about a more coherent response at the international level in cases of this sort. For example, it proposed specific precautionary measures to the Committee of Basle (consolidated supervision of banks) and the FATF concerning the opening of accounts for "politically exposed figures".”

 

“Switzerland contributed a number of specific proposals aimed at reinforcing international co-operation, improving the application of sanctions and ensuring better control of their implementation.”

 

“Switzerland outlawed the laundering of money of unlawful origin in Article 305 of the Swiss Penal Code in 1990, and passed a separate law on money laundering that came into effect in April 1998. The latter introduced an obligation that is applicable throughout the banking sector and extends to all financial intermediaries, to report any suspicions of unlawful transactions. These provisions are rounded off by the directives of the Federal Banking Commission. Furthermore, the revision of the Federal Law on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which came into effect in February 1997, considerably simplified the process of mutual legal assistance. It greatly shortens the duration of implementation procedures by limiting the possibilities of appeal and narrowing the circle of persons entitled to appeal. An evaluation of Switzerland carried out by the FATF in 1998 confirmed that our country's legislation aimed at combating the laundering of money of criminal origin is among the most advanced in the world.”

 

“Switzerland is in favour of tough multilateral efforts aimed at preventing the unlawful use of the world's financial centres by criminal organisations. We are offering our fullest co-operation at the international level. We welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1373 on the fight against terrorism and took steps to secure its swift implementation. Already in June 2001, we signed the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, which we will ratify as quickly as possible.”

 

“It is also crucial that financial intermediaries in both the banking and non-banking sectors thoroughly verify their client relationships in order to better identify suspicious circumstances and elements. In this connection, strict observation of the "know-your-customer"-principles is of the utmost importance. Swiss legislation on fighting money laundering stipulates that all financial intermediaries - not just banks and certain other institutions - who suspect that a given client may be involved in money laundering are obliged to notify the relevant authorities and immediately block the assets of the client concerned.”

 

“Switzerland will not tolerate the use of its financial system by terrorists for committing criminal acts; we introduced the necessary measures many years ago to prevent it from being used to finance terrorist activities. In accordance with our legislation governing international judicial co-operation and the international treaties we have signed, Switzerland co-operates fully in the investigation of international criminal activities. Our banks are obliged by law to provide information of any nature relating to criminal investigations if requested to do so by the judiciary authorities.”

 

“Targeted economic sanctions ("smart sanctions")”

“In order to develop the substantial work that was already accomplished in Interlaken (http://www.smartsanctions.ch) and put the new concept into practice, the Swiss government in co-operation with the Watson Institute for International Studies (Brown University, USA) conducted more in-depth studies. These gave rise to a manual outlining the concept and detailing how targeted financial sanctions

could be implemented. The document was submitted to the UN Security Council in New York last October.”

 

“We are the first country to have extended the scope of application of this assessment to include its legislation against money laundering, and this clearly underscores our active commitment to the fight against unlawful use of the global financial system.”

 

“Switzerland has submitted various specific proposals of its own, and is supporting others, aimed at improving the practical application of the "know your customer" rule. In particular, we feel that the procedures for identifying bank clients should be extended to include financial beneficiaries as well as clients who are the bank's contact person. Throughout the world, banks should not be content to simply accept official documents such as extracts from commercial registers concerning legal entities or fiduciary companies, but instead need to obtain sound information concerning those persons who effectively control the assets concerned. This particularly applies to bank clients acting through professional intermediaries (lawyers or fiduciary representatives), or who use legal entities, front companies or trusts. Furthermore, it is essential that these regulations apply to both the banking and non-banking sectors - all the more so under the present circumstances in which international terrorist organisations have sophisticated financial networks at their disposal that include fiduciary companies, front firms and charity foundations.”

 

“Corruption: Another aspect of financial crime that has gained in importance in the international arena over the past few years is corruption. This can largely be explained through an awareness of the severity of the problem, its negative impacts on the progress of numerous developing countries or nations in transition, and the necessity to bring those efforts to completion that have been initiated by the international community to combat organised crime and money laundering.”

 

“Furthermore, it has to be noted that severe cases of corruption are frequently associated with the problem of illicit funds deposited by leading political figures (e.g. heads of state). Switzerland is actively involved in the fight against corruption, both at home and in the international arena. We played a major role in the formulation of the 1999 OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The workgroup was chaired by Professor Mark Pieth (University of Basle), while the negotiations group was presided over by a Swiss diplomat, Ambassador Marino Baldi. Switzerland has already ratified this convention and accordingly amended its Penal Code, thereby outlawing bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. On 26 February 2001, Switzerland also signed the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption which includes clauses governing the responsibility of legal entities. Finally, Switzerland is pursuing its commitment within the framework of a future United Nations convention to combat corruption, work on which was initiated in Vienna on 21 January.”

 

“It soon became apparent that major financial centers and banks in a large number of countries are exposed to this problem. These two seminars presented an opportunity to exchange findings with respect to the prevention of such activities, the tracing and freezing of accounts and the return of stolen assets, as well as to discuss questions relating to immunity on the part of heads of state. They also supported the ongoing search for concerted solutions at the international level, as well as the activities within international fora such as the Committee of Basle and the FATF.”

 

“Tax offences: Some of our arguments have meanwhile entered the international debate. The OECD report on improving access to bank information for tax purposes, which was approved in March 2000 following intense negotiations, explicitly acknowledges the legitimacy of the principle of confidentiality and proposes a number of measures aimed at combating fiscal crime more effectively. Switzerland approved this report. We are prepared to provide administrative assistance in cases of tax fraud by means of amendments to bilateral agreements on double taxation. Several bilateral negotiations are presently in course to achieve this goal.”

 

“However, Switzerland does not intend to participate in a system that calls for an automatic exchange of information.”

 

“Switzerland has absolutely no interest whatsoever in allowing its territory to be used for such activities, and we have been taking measures over the past few years that have practically put an end to trafficking across our borders. We are willing to find solutions, together with the EU and its member states, in order to even more effectively combat fraud involving the movement of goods. In order to achieve this goal, we have proposed to provide the EU with increased administrative and judicial co-operation in cases involving subsidy fraud, organised smuggling and, potentially, other organised illegal activities involving indirect taxes or subsidies and which are associated with international movements of goods. Both the EU and Switzerland are of the opinion that direct taxation should not be included in negotiations concerning customs fraud.”

 

“The Swiss Financial center: The developments on the international scene that are aimed at promoting a broader exchange of information cannot be separated from the fact that any easing of the observation of confidentiality in Switzerland would certainly be welcomed by various rival financial centres, which would be only too happy to welcome certain assets currently deposited in our country. In this context, in which significant economic interests are involved and arguments of an ethical nature raised, it should be pointed out that a number of countries of the OECD have offshore financial centres within their zones of influence, and which have been gaining rapidly in importance over the past few years. Other countries benefit from legislation that grants an even higher degree of confidentiality than Swiss legislation.”

 

“Furthermore it should also be emphasised that Switzerland applies the principle of "know your customer" very rigorously, and contrary to the claims made in countless crime novels and thrillers, there are no "anonymous accounts" in Switzerland. And, unlike Switzerland, some countries of the OECD do not appear to efficiently co-operate in the area of international judicial assistance. It is essential that these principles are duly applied at the international level in a coherent manner.”

 

“With all due respect to Mr. Arnaud Montebourg, Switzerland is certainly not an ideal location for washing money of criminal origin. Our preventive measures are among the most rigorous anywhere, cases that are detected are pursued with the utmost severity, the assets concerned are immediately frozen and banks at fault are openly penalised. A variety of criticisms and clichés in circulation concerning Switzerland's financial centre are therefore either false or inaccurate.”

 

“However, other financial centres are endeavouring to enhance their competitive edge, too, and are meeting with success. This means that the Swiss authorities need to adapt and improve the framework conditions, while the banks themselves have to set out to enhance their services and performance.”

 

“Conclusions: To conclude, I want to emphasise that Switzerland is fully aware of its responsibilities as an international financial centre. In view of the challenges posed by globalisation and technological developments, the reinforcement of multilateral co-operation is absolutely essential. Switzerland is therefore actively involved in the framing of new international regulations aimed at securing the sound operation of financial markets, and in particular at combating financial crime. We have also launched a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the international fight against money laundering, financing of terrorism and corruption.”

 

“Within the framework of ongoing international negotiations, in particular with the EU and within the OECD, Switzerland will safeguard its legitimate interests firmly and resolutely. We want to improve the framework conditions for the financial centre still further, taking the importance of safeguarding the private sphere of individual citizens and meeting the needs of financial institutions fully into account.”

 

“The Swiss authorities will further upgrade their capacity to combat any abuse of the Swiss financial centre. At the same time, they expect all financial institutions to act in a manner that is beyond reproach. It is only by securing an exemplary reputation and enhancing its competitive capacity still further that Switzerland will be able to effectively deal with mounting turbulences and successfully meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

 

 

You can read complete transcript in order

TRUTH SHALL PREVAILS