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fedpol: Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland: Twofold increase in the number of incoming reports within two years
(ots) - Bern, 22 April 2004. The number of suspicious activity
reports submitted to the Money Laundering Reporting Office
Switzerland (MROS) at the Federal Office of Police has doubled
within the last two years. For the second consecutive year, the
majority of incoming reports came from the non-banking sector. More
than half of the total number of suspicious activity reports was
submitted as a result of international payment transactions.
Once again there has been a rising trend in the number of suspicious activity reports. Last year a total of 863 reports were submitted to MROS. This is an increase of 32.4% compared to the previous year. As was the case in 2002, this can mainly be explained by the keener reporting habits of financial intermediaries or money transmitters who provide services in the area of international financial transactions.
For the second consecutive year, the majority of suspicious activity reports were submitted by the non-banking sector, including money transmitters. This sector accounted for 65% of all incoming reports, in comparison to 35% from the banking sector. Although the banking sector submitted more reports over the previous year in absolute terms (11.4% or 302 reports in 2003 in comparison to 271 in 2002), the overall percentage of incoming reports from this sector still fell from 42% in 2002 to 35% in 2003.
In comparison to the increase in the number of reports from money transmitters (+64.6%), banks (+11.4%) and fiduciaries (+14.3%), the number of reports from lawyers (9 reports, -25%), insurance companies (8 reports, -11.1%) and asset managers (21 reports, - 12.5%) decreased in comparison with the previous year.
Slight decrease in the total amount of assets involved
Despite the evident increase in the number of reports, the total amount of frozen assets fell slightly compared with the previous year to CHF 616 million (-7.5%). The reason for this lies mainly in the fact that, in connection with the majority of the reports submitted by money transmitters, no assets could be frozen under Article 10 of the Money Laundering Act. However, in approximately 8% of the 863 reports submitted in 2003, assets to the value of at least CHF 1 million were frozen. In 2002 this figure was 12.7%.
A challenge for the law enforcement agencies of the Confederation and Canton Zurich
According to an analysis, 76.6% of the total number of suspicious activity reports was passed on to the federal and cantonal law enforcement agencies. This is a decrease of 2.4% over the previous year. This overall decrease can be explained by the fact that only 61% of the reports from the money transmitters were forwarded to law enforcement agencies, as opposed to 96% from the banking sector. Out of the total number of reports forwarded to the law enforcement agencies by MROS, 28.5% of the cases were passed on to Canton Zurich and 25.5% to the Office of the Attorney General.
Five reports in connection with suspected terrorist funding
In the 2003 reporting period, five reports were submitted to MROS in connection with suspected terrorist funding, as opposed to 15 in 2002 and 95 in 2001. All the reports concerned persons whose name appeared on the lists of names.
For further information please contact the following persons between 10.00 and 12.00: Judith Voney, Head MROS (for information in German and English): 031 325 09 88 Lorenzo Gerber, Deputy Head MROS (for information in French and Italian): 031 323 34 52
The 6th Annual MROS Report is available on the fedpol website under http://www.fedpol.ch
FEDERAL OFFICE OF POLICE Media Service