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13. jun 2001 - Personnel and structural changes at the Money Laundering Control Authority: Head of Division, Niklaus Huber, has submitted his resignation. In order to ensure continuity, Mr. Huber has expressed to the Director of the Fed. Finance Administration (FFA) that he is willing to continue to provide his specialist knowledge in the field of combating money laundering in an advisory capacity, although he is giving up his functions at the Control Authority with immediate effect. The former President of the Zurich Commercial Court, Mr. Armand Meyer (62) is appointed interim Head of Division. He will be supported in legal and organisational matters by proven specialists. In this way, action on pending cases upon which decisions are due to be made and on the reorganisation of management structures can be assured. Mr. Meyer will exercise this function as an authorised agent of the Head of Department, Kaspar Villiger. In the meantime, the position of Head of Division will be advertised and filled as soon as possible.
The process of setting-up the Money Laundering Control Authority and the establishment of self-regulation in the sector led to much successful and innovative work, but was, as expected, also accompanied by certain start-up difficulties. Despite agreeing on central questions, such as the consistent implementation of the Money Laundering Act (MLA) and the need for a firm plan of measures, increasingly diverging views regarding the role and management priorities of the Head of Division arose between the Director of the Fed. Finance Administration and the Head of Division, Niklaus Huber. This made it difficult for both sides to envisage the prospect of long-term collaboration. In addition, Mr. Huber felt that the increasing public exposure of the role as Head of the Control Authority would complicate matters were he to take up work at a later time as a lawyer or in another position in the private sector. It was these considerations which led Mr. Huber to submit his resignation. As a result, there will be a change of personnel at the head of the Control Authority. In order to ensure continuity, Mr. Huber has stated to the Director of the Fed. Finance Administration that he is prepared to continue to provide his specialist knowledge in the area of combating money laundering in an advisory capacity, although he is giving up his functions at the Control Authority with immediate effect. Mr. Siegenthaler accepted his offer to act in an advisory capacity. Even after the change in personnel, the on-going reinforcement of the functions of the Control Authority will continue. Given the clear will to implement the MLA in a determined and credible manner, in addition to filling the post of Head of Division as swiftly as possibly, FFA Director, Peter Siegenthaler is also planning to reshape the management structure. Mr. Siegenthaler's clear intention to implement the provisions of the Act, the formation of the interim management team and the plans to reshape the management structure have the explicit support of Federal Councillor Kaspar Villiger.
Division of roles of justice and supervision in combating money laundering Implementation of the MLA falls under the competence of various authorities: The justice authorities are the only body responsible for the prosecution of money laundering offences. With regard to the supervision of the finance sector, the areas of regulation, control and adherence to obligations of due diligence are divided between the Fed. Banking Commission (banking sector), the Federal Office of Private Insurance (insurance), the Fed. Gaming Board (casinos) and the Money Laundering Control Authority (other financial intermediaries). Prosecution and prevention play an equal part in the Swiss model for effective combating of money laundering and safeguarding the quality of the finance sector.
Competently secured transition - management team to be expanded
Until the new Control Authority head takes up office, it will be led in the interim by Armand Meyer, former cantonal supreme court judge and President of the Zurich Commercial Court. Mr. Meyer has on various occasions completed mandates for the Fed. Department of Foreign Affairs (election observing, human rights) and is a member of the Swiss Social Democratic Party. He will exercise the function of interim head of the Control Authority as an authorised agent of Federal Councillor Kaspar Villiger and by the same token accompany the new Head of the Control Authority during the reshaping period once that person has been selected. At the same time, Mr. Meyer will also be appointed to the Advisory Committee. In specialist legal matters and the training of new staff, Mr. Meyer will be supported on a mandate basis by outside legal counsel, Michael Kunz, who has specialist knowledge in the prevention of money laundering and financial market supervision. Mr. Kunz, an attorney, is currently at the secretariat of the Fed. Banking Commission and deals with special tasks in the area of E-Banking and was previously a special examining magistrate for Canton Bern involved with the case of Werner K. Rey / Omni Holding. During the period of reorganisation and to assist with project management, Roland Favre, a specialist advisor from the Head of Department's personal staff will be at the disposal of the interim and newly appointed Control Authority heads.
With these measures, the necessary prerequisites for processing pending decisions have been competently met and the necessary support ensured for the development of the new structure. This foresees the formation of additional specialist areas and senior management chaired by the Head of Division. The aim is that the interim and definitive leadership develops and realises a strategy for the short-term and long-term implementation of the MLA, which has the joint support of the Department, the Finance Administration and the Control Authority. Only in this way can the prerequisites for professional supervision and control management be met on an objective basis.
13th June 2001
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