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Switzerland reviews Saudi bank accounts

December 5, 2017 at 10:37 am

A Swiss bank [njneer/Flickr]

Swiss Federal prosecutors said yesterday that the Swiss authorities were examining information provided by banks about possible suspicious transactions related to Saudi accounts.

The comments came in response to a report published in the Financial Times, which quoted unnamed sources who claimed that the Swiss banks began reporting suspicious activities within the accounts of some Saudi clients.

“Information coming in is being reviewed, as is standard practice. At this stage assets have not been frozen nor criminal investigations opened in this regard,” a spokeswoman for the Office of the Attorney General said in an emailed statement.

She said the information included data that banks had submitted to the national money-laundering reporting centre as part of their standard due diligence obligations.

Meanwhile, the Federal Office for Justice said that Saudi Arabia had not asked for legal help in investigating 19 prominent figures linked to corruption allegations.

Last month, Saudi authorities arrested scores of members of the royal family, senior officials and prominent businessmen on corruption charges.

Saudi Crown Prince: 95% of those arrested agreed to return funds

The Swiss examination of Saudi accounts comes at a time when the parliament is considering whether to allow the automatic exchange of banking data with Saudi Arabia, one of 41 additional countries that are supposed to begin receiving information from Switzerland as of 2019.

In September, the lower house of parliament opposed data sharing with Saudi Arabia, the only country apart from New Zealand among the 41 countries that did not win the parliament’s approval. The upper house is due to reconsider the Saudi issue this week.