Bank secrecy

Bank secrecy (or bank privacy) is a legal principle in some jurisdictions under which banks are not allowed to provide to authorities personal and account information about their customers unless certain conditions apply (for example, a criminal complaint has been filed). In some cases, additional privacy is provided to beneficial owners through the use of numbered bank accounts or otherwise. Bank secrecy is prevalent in certain countries such as Switzerland, Lebanon, Singapore and Luxembourg, as well as offshore banks and other tax havens under voluntary or statutory privacy provisions.

Created by the Swiss Banking Act of 1934, which led to the famous Swiss bank numbered account, the principle of bank secrecy is always considered one of the main aspects of private banking. It has also been accused by NGOs and governments of being one of the main instruments of underground economy and organized crime, in particular following the class action suit against the Vatican Bank in the 1990s, the Clearstream scandal and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Former bank employees from banks in Switzerland (UBS, Julius Baer) and Liechtenstein (LGT Group) have testified that their former institutions helped clients evade billions of dollars in taxes by routing money through offshore havens in the Caribbean and Switzerland. One of these, Rudolf M. Elmer, wrote, "It is a global problem...Offshore tax evasion is the biggest theft among societies and neighbor states in this world." The Swiss Parliament ratified on June 17, 2010 an agreement between the Swiss and the United States governments allowing UBS to transmit to the US authorities information concerning 4,450 American clients of UBS suspected of tax evasion.

Latest News for: Bank secrecy laws


FinCEN charts massive surge in ransomware activity reports in H1 2021

The Block 16 Oct 2021
The U.S. anti-money laundering watchdog has put out a new report on a surge in ransomware payment activity in 2021. But is it a surge in ransomware or in reporting related to ransomware? ... FinCEN is the Treasury office that enforces compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering law ... The details are, however, tricky ... Source. FinCEN....

Biden’s IRS $600 Disclosure Plan Could Lead To “Surveillance State”

The Liberty Beacon 13 Oct 2021
Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) urged the Senate to pass his legislation, the Protecting Financial Privacy Act (S.2953), which would prevent the IRS from accessing financial transaction data of their customers, building on a pre-existing law, the Bank Secrecy Act....

Is Coinbase safe? How to use the popular crypto-trading platform safely and securely

Business Insider 13 Oct 2021
Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories ... Case in point ... To create an account on Coinbase, users need to supply some basic information, much as they would if they were opening a brokerage or bank account ... But in the US, Coinbase complies with the Bank Secrecy Act, the USA Patriot Act, and local state laws and regulations ... Quick tip....

5 Key Things to Know About the Pandora Papers

Resilience 12 Oct 2021
The Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers (Bermuda and Singapore) and Luanda Leaks (Angola) all reinforced the misperception that most of these financial shell games take place “off shore,” in secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens in small countries with weak banking laws....

Ukraine court puts bank chief under house arrest after scuffle with journalists

Reuters 11 Oct 2021
"Two persons, the head of the bank and the official in charge of information policy have been placed under night house arrest," the Kyiv prosecutor's office said ... The bank has denied any wrongdoing over loans and said banking secrecy laws prevented it from discussing the matter....

Ukrainian bank chief dismissed, put under house arrest after scuffle with journalists

Metro USA 11 Oct 2021
KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine’s third-largest bank dismissed its chairman on Monday after a Kyiv court ordered him to be put under house arrest while police investigate a scuffle with journalists in his office ... The bank has denied any wrongdoing over loans and said banking secrecy laws prevented it from discussing the matter....

South Dakota Is a Major Global Tax Shelter, According to the Pandora Papers

truthout 10 Oct 2021
The Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers (Bermuda and Singapore), and Luanda Leaks (Angola) all reinforced the misconception that most of these financial shell games take place “off shore,” in secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens in small countries with weak banking laws....

Pandora Papers prompt lawmakers to push for crackdown on financial 'enablers'

The Hill 07 Oct 2021
The proposal would amend the existing Bank Secrecy Act ... already been required to look into possible suspicious transactions made by their clients, but this legislation would extend into covering entities that experts believe were protected under the Bank Secrecy Act’s loophole....

Federal Regulators Want Congress To Pass Cannabis Banking Now

MarijuanaStocks 07 Oct 2021
They would need to follow anti-money laundering laws under the Bank Secrecy Act ... Mainly due to the fear and stigma encompassing the industry without any cannabis banking laws in place ... Creating regulations and adapting to federal law to expand access to the banking system for MRBs is a significant move....

Ukrainian state bank chief suspended after scuffle with investigative journalists

Reuters 06 Oct 2021
KYIV, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Ukraine's third-biggest bank suspended its chairman on Wednesday after a video was aired showing a scuffle in his office with journalists investigating the bank's lending practices ... The bank denied any wrongdoing over loans in a statement and said banking secrecy laws prevented it from discussing the matter....

Pandora Papers Leak Spotlighting Tax Havens

Consortium News 05 Oct 2021
“That honor goes to the professional enablers — banks, law firms, and accountants — and the countries that facilitate them.”. US Biggest Peddler of Financial Secrecy ... financial secrecy.” ... Ending tax secrecy on individuals, offshores, and multinational corporations....

Release of Pandora Papers Unveils Corrupt Financial Networks

OWP 05 Oct 2021
Additionally, offshoring can offer “impenetrable secrecy” regarding all financial activity. A mechanism that enables this privacy stems from “banks, law firms,” and “industry-friendly lawmakers” that purposefully create complex legal protections....

Pandora Papers: Leaked files show hidden financial affairs of world leaders

The Irish Times 03 Oct 2021
The system is sustained by multinational banks, law firms and accounting practices headquartered in the US and Europe. The papers reveal that banks around the world set up offshore companies for their customers with the help of Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), a Panamanian law firm led by a former Panamanian ambassador to the US....