Four Swiss banks broke dictator asset rules. Only four?
At least that's the opinion of Switzerland's financial market regulator, FINMA:
Four Swiss banks are being targeted by the market regulator for not conducting proper checks when dealing with accounts held by suspicious persons.
It's good to see this kind of knuckle-rapping happening, but it does rather confirm what we've always known: Swiss banks are harbouring vast amounts of criminal wealth.
Also bear in mind that in the affected countries, only a minority share of the assets looted from a country will actually be held by the dictators and their known cronies, the Politically Exposed Persons. Much larger amounts will be dispersed among a lot of slightly less senior yet nevertheless well-connected officials. And then there's the issue of discretionary trusts, foundations and the like, where legally speaking the assets really have no owner.
And let's remember too: this was four banks out of 20 in an 'extraordinary audit.' Switzerland has over 300 banks.
For more information in English on what is wrong with the Finma report, please listen to Mark Herkenrath's interview for World Radio Switzerland, entitled For money laundering, Switzerland still 'very attractive' for dictators. The audit is superficial and disappointing, he notes: Finma only looked into those banks that looked into the government's freezing order - but did not look into 'black sheep' banks which did not report dictators' assets!
In other words, this is a drop in the ocean. Switzerland, despite all its protestations, remains a massive sink for the world's dirty money.