Swiss underline responsibility in terror financing fight

Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (third from left) poses with French ministers at the Paris meeting on Thursday

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has said that Switzerland must assume its responsibilities in the fight against terrorism financing.

This content was published on April 27, 2018

This is because Switzerland is a globally a large open financial centre, which brings with it certain obligations, said Sommaruga, who has been attending an international conference on the issue in Paris. 

Ministers from some 70 countries and nearly 500 experts gathered in the French capital for a two-day conferenceExternal link on combating the financing of terror groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda. It was called by the French president Emmanuel Macron and finished on Thursday with a joint statementExternal link pledging to bolster efforts in the financing of terrorism fight.

Sommaruga used the meeting to talk about what Switzerland was doing. But she also mentioned areas where “we could do better”. She cited the example of improving “the detection of suspicious financial flows via lawyers and other non-financial intermediaries”.

“Terrorism financing doesn’t just go via banks,” she underlined at a press briefing on Friday.

+ Read more about how Switzerland is boosting its terrorism fight

Switzerland also called for more transparency from raw materials multinationals which are headquartered in Switzerland. There is a reputation risk, Sommaruga said.

These companies should show transparency in over their payments to governments in the countries where they are extracting raw materials, she added.

Participants at the conference also drew attention to the danger of using cryptocurrencies for financing the terrorism fight. “We have to be aware of the risks and find common rules,” Sommaruga explained.

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