04 Feb 2018
Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) has ended its work on the Panama Papers.
Following revelations from the data leak in 2016, the watchdog launched investigations at more than 30 Swiss banks, focusing on their implementation of anti-money laundering regulations.
In-depth investigations were carried out at around 20 banks, Finma explained, and where necessary, it said it has required banks to take action to improve their anti-money laundering processes.
On Thursday it announced it would take action against Gazprombank Switzerland, emanating from its Panama Papers investigation.
It found the bank was in serious breach of its anti-money laundering due diligence requirements in the period from 2006 to 2016.
“In many cases, the bank’s risk categorisation of its business relationships was found to be incorrect or was carried out too late. It failed to clarify the background of business relationships and transactions with the necessary depth and attention to detail,” Finma said in a statement.
“The bank also failed in some instances to report suspicious business relationships to the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS) within an appropriate timeframe. The bank’s organisation and risk management and control functions have therefore shown serious shortcomings in the prevention of money laundering.”
Many of the breaches relate to relationships that were initiated by the bank’s predecessor institution, the Russian Commercial Bank Ltd, prior to 2009.
Following the probe, Finma said it has decided to ban Gazprombank from accepting new private clients until further notice.
The bank has also been instructed to review and, where necessary, modify its anti-money laundering processes.
In a statement, Gazprom said it accepts Finma’s decision, and explained that [its] business with private individuals is “very limited and does not cover private banking business as perceived in the industry.”
It said it would “strictly monitor” the small number of existing private relationships it has.
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