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Swiss debt enforcement offices aiding money laundering

In Switzerland, it is possible to pay delinquent debts with large sums of cash. Some criminals are using the loophole to launder money, reports Le Matin.

Swiss debt enforcement offices aiding money laundering


Swiss broadcaster SRF investigated several official debt enforcement offices across Switzerland and found that large sums of cash were passing through some of them. In Geneva, CHF 24 million of cash passed through its cantonal offices des poursuites in 2021, some of it dirty, according to SRF.

It also appears officials are aware of the problem. In Switzerland, banks must verify the provenance of any cash sums of more than CHF 15,000. However, there is no such requirement for Switzerland’s official debt enforcement offices.

This creates an obvious loophole. Criminals can take legal action against the non-payment of a fictive loan to an acquaintance. The acquaintance then turns up at the debt enforcement office with a large sum of cash to satisfy the debt and the sum is returned to the criminal laundered.

When contacted by SRF the federal justice department admitted that there was a risk of abuse and that a change to the law is being discussed that is likely to limit cash payments to debt enforcement offices to CHF 100,000.

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