Banque Audi profits confiscated by authorities

The Swiss Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) has recently concluded enforcement proceedings against Banque Audi, a Geneva-based private bank owned by a Lebanese banking group. The bank was found to have breached its obligations to prevent money laundering and was fined 3.9 million francs. In addition, the bank will be required to hold additional equity capital of 19 million francs in the future.

The case is connected to the ongoing criminal proceedings against the former head of Lebanon’s central bank, Riad Salameh, who is suspected of embezzling over $300 million in funds from the Lebanese Central Bank. Criminal investigations are also underway in several countries against Salameh and his associates, including the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which has been conducting an investigation since 2020 on suspicion of serious money laundering.

Finma’s investigation into Banque Audi revealed that the bank had inadequately clarified the origin of assets for high-risk customers and failed to report suspicious transactions to the authorities. The bank also failed to act on suspicions raised in the press about ill-gotten assets of individual customers. Finma emphasized the importance of transparency and enforcement in the financial sector and highlighted the need for effective money laundering prevention measures.

The conclusion of the enforcement proceedings against Banque Audi serves as a warning to other financial institutions about the consequences of breaching supervisory laws. Finma’s actions demonstrate its commitment to upholding regulatory standards and protecting the integrity of the Swiss financial center. The case also underscores the importance of effective communication and transparency in regulatory processes to maintain public trust in

By Sophia Gonzalez

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