Swiss court blocks bank data transfer to Italy

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Switzerland has ruled that transferring banking data violates the rights of those accused of money laundering. Photo: Walt Hubis/Flickr
16:38 CEST+02:00
A Swiss court has ordered Bern to stop transferring secret banking data to Italy in connection with a money laundering case, according to a ruling published on Monday.

The Federal Criminal Court ruled on June 28th that by cooperating with the Italians through the transfer of banking data, Switzerland was violating the rights of the nine people accused in the case.

The nine stand accused of money laundering and bankruptcy fraud after they allegedly sold €650 million in bonds on an unnamed company's debt, only to distribute the cash among their personal accounts instead of into the company coffers.

They are also suspected of having stolen another €350 million from the Naples-based company, which filed for bankruptcy last year.

Last September, Italian authorities requested judicial assistance from Switzerland, asking the small, Alpine nation renowned for its strict banking secrecy to hand over details on the suspects' Swiss bank accounts.

Last January, the public prosecutor's office in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino accepted the request and gave the green light to hand over the documents.

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But four of the accused filed a complaint against the decision, maintaining that their rights were being violated since they were not consulted before the banking details were transferred.

Following the ruling, the Ticino prosecution must now reformulate its response to the Italians to take into account the rights of the accused.

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