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Reform of the Swiss Criminal Code and the Anti-Money Laundering Act – Introduction of qualified tax offences as predicate offences for money laundering and further amendments

June 2015
Breitenstein, S. / du Pasquier, S.

In February 2012, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF – an international organization which has as its main objective to develop and promote standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing) issued a revised version of its recommendations which are recognized as international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The Swiss legislation is selectively adapted to these recommendations with a federal law adopted by the Parliament on December 12, 2014. The most important changes concern the Federal Act on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Financial Sector (AMLA), the Criminal Code (CC) and the Code of Obligations (CO). The focus is on creating more transparency regarding the ownership of legal entities, the alteration of the scope of the definition of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) and, in particular, the extension of the predicate offences for money laundering by including qualified tax offence. As the referendum period against the adopted federal law ended on April 2, 2015 without a referendum having been brought, the Federal Council has decided on a staggered implementation with the provisions regarding the transparency of legal persons and bearer shares entering into force on July 1, 2015 and the remaining provisions entering into force on January 1, 2016.

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