Still Keeping Secrets? Bank Secrecy, Money Laundering, and Anti-Money Laundering in Switzerland and Singapore

  • Shiqing Yu


It was the Swiss Banking Act 1934 that first created numbered bank accounts, and in Switzerland, the principle of bank secrecy continues to be regarded as one of the primary aspects of private banking. Switzerland has long been accused of being one of the main tools of organised crime and the underground economy both by governments and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), particularly after the class action suit against the Clearstream scandal, the Vatican Bank, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In addition to Switzerland, Singapore was ranked 5th on the Financial Secrecy Index (FSI) in 2018,  and faced a delicate conundrum because of the signs of crisis in emerging economies such as Indonesia and India, and came under growing pressure from the U.S. and Europe, which accused it of providing unfair advantages in the competition of tax havens. This article discusses money laundering and bank secrecy in Singapore and Switzerland primarily, and discusses whether they are still keeping financial information as secret as before because of its link to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Bank Secrecy.


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