ZURICH—Swiss regulator Finma may discipline four banks for having what it called lax controls on accepting money from foreign public officials associated with deposed Middle Eastern and North African leaders, but generally found that the country’s lenders complied with anti-money-laundering rules.
In a report released as Switzerland struggles to shed a reputation as a haven for kleptocrats looking to stash funds abroad, Finma said Thursday it found serious shortcomings in how four banks dealt with accounts held by foreign officials tied to former governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, including one bank that accepted seven-figure deposits from a public official who claimed to be semiretired. Finma, which declined to name the banks, will now consider disciplinary action.
Generally, Finma generally found little fault with the way Swiss banks handled money coming from these regimes, despite charges from activists that the country’s banks don’t do enough to keep out money from corrupt foreign officials and criminals. Finma’s findings are also in contrast to a June inquiry by U.K. regulators, which found poor anti-money laundering practices at about three-fourths of British banks.
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