Swiss watchdog reprimands Bank SYZ for breaching money laundering rules

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Swiss private bank Syz is pictured on a building in Geneva, Switzerland, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss financial market supervisor FINMA on Thursday reprimanded private Bank SYZ over money laundering rules breaches involving business ties with a politically exposed Angolan client who made transactions worth tens of millions of Swiss francs.

“FINMA found that the bank did not make sufficient efforts to investigate the substantial growth in the client’s assets,” the watchdog said in a statement, adding it had also failed to clarify the client’s high-risk transactions. “The bank did not adequately resolve issues that should have raised suspicions.”

Bank SYZ said it had taken a number of measures to improve the systems it had in place.

“The bank attaches the utmost importance to compliance with its anti-money laundering obligations,” it said in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately, for a specific business relationship, the procedures put in place proved to be inadequate.”

FINMA noted the Geneva-based wealth manager had reported suspicions, which enabled criminal prosecutors to investigate the Angolan case. It said it would appoint an independent auditor to oversee the bank’s implementation of new compliance measures.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, editing by John Miller and Michael Shields