Criticism as bid to loosen banking secrecy laws fails




Global Report

Politicians voted against loosening Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws, drawing criticism from the UN and campaign groups who said the laws harm press freedom. A notorious law known as article 47 makes it a criminal offence to disclose information about a bank’s clients, even if it is in the public interest. It means whistleblowers and journalists who report on potential wrongdoing can be prosecuted. A parliamentary subcommittee voted against amending the law, saying Swiss banks had strengthened their controls on money laundering and were meeting international standards. “An amendment to the Banking Act would run the risk of encouraging public prejudgements against private individuals,” it said.