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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Swiss Prosecutor Targeting 'Dirty Money' in Liechtenstein




ZURICH, Switzerland -- The special prosecutor investigating suspected money-laundering through banks in Liechtenstein plans more raids to trace "a lot of dirty money" he thinks is stashed in accounts there.


"There will certainly be more searches in additional banks," crime fighter Karl Spitzer told the SonntagsZeitungs weekly in a report published Sunday. "There is a lot of dirty money in Liechtenstein."


The tiny principality of Liechtenstein brought in Spitzer from Austria to get to the bottom of allegations that the Russian mafia and Colombian cocaine cartels were funneling profits through the key offshore financial center.


He sent officers last week to seize documents from LGT Bank, which is owned by the royal family, and another bank as part of his high-profile probe that has shaken Liechtenstein's close-knit community of asset managers.


Five people f including a member of parliament and the brother of the Swiss deputy prime minister f remain in investigative custody in the probe which has spawned eight arrests so far.


The Financial Action Task Force, an international group that aims to combat money laundering in offshore centers, is set to address the subject this week at the Paris headquarters of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Mark Pieth, head of the OECD task force, told the SonntagsZeitung that a law that would make all regulated financial centers adhere to the principle of "know your customer" when dealing with clients from offshore centers could eventually closed down Liechtenstein as a financial center.


"Countries like Switzerland, Germany, France, Britain and the United States would no longer accept funds that have not been identified" by owner.