Swiss banks face scrutiny over Panama Papers

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 6:40 PM

Switzerland is the world'south largest middle for offshore wealth, with Boston Consulting Grouping estimating that around $2.5 trillion in foreign assets was kept with the country'south banks in two thousand-fourteenth.

Switzerland is stepping up scrutiny of its banks in response to the Panama Papers which have prompted a global outcry over allegations of tax avoidance.

"We wish to know which banks have used the services of the Panamanian firm and whether Swiss laws were broken," said Thomas Bauer, president of Swiss financial watchdog FINMA.

"We've already contacted (Swiss financial) institutes," Bauer told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, without specifying names.

Switzerland is the world'south largest middle for offshore wealth, with Boston Consulting Grouping estimating that around $2.5 trillion in foreign assets was kept with the country'south banks in 2014.

FINMA signaled a crackdown on money laundering on Wednesday and is presently calling for authorities around the globe to set standards that'd prevent abuse.

"Other states and organizations -- such as the European Union or the OECD -- necessity to create efforts to set up similar regulations everywhere," Bauer told the paper.

Branches of Swiss lenders including UBS () and Credit Suisse () were mentioned in the leaked documents as being among the main banks that requested offshore companies for clients. Both banks have denied wrongdoing in connection with the practice.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Keith Weir)

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