October 7, 2020

FINMA finds AML violations by Swiss bank

On October 6, 2020, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority found that Banca Credinvest SA, an independent Swiss bank specializing in asset management, private banking and trading of financial products, breached anti-money laundering regulations in its dealings with Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.

In 2018, FINMA commenced an investigation into possible money laundering violations by Banca Credinvest, and discovered that the bank’s AML processes and risk management were inadequate.  Specifically, Credinvest breached its duty of due diligence from 2013 to 2017 by failing to adequately identify is clients or beneficial owners, failing to properly monitor client transactions, documenting processes incompletely, and reporting suspicious activity to the Money Laundering Reporting Office too late.

As a result, FINMA ordered Credinvest to take a series of organizational measures to comply with AML laws, starting with the identification of all private banking clients that have an increased money laundering risk, and mitigating the risks related to those accounts.  The bank also decided to withdraw from all client relationships connected to Venezuela, agreed not to accept any new high-risk clients for a period of three years or until all compliance measures have been implemented and approved.

FINMA press release