A former Criminal Intelligence Specialist at Scotland Yard confirmed that the divorcing husband was hiding millions from his wife by using bank accounts in Switzerland. The husband’s true beneficial ownership of these funds had been concealed by a nominee (i.e. intermediary). This nominee had opened the Swiss bank accounts in the names of shell corporations. The evidence suggested that the nominee had additionally engaged in money laundering for the husband, maybe on behalf of organized crime.
The above information could possibly be used during the divorce to impeach the husband at a deposition about his alleged net worth and assets. The Swiss bank information could also be used to frame a line of questions at a subpoenaed deposition of the nominee. As partly demonstrated by the example of a changed / sanitized letter rogatory to Obergericht des Kantons Zürich, evidence might too be elicited from bank witnesses in Switzerland. Such letters rogatory / legal assistance requests can sometimes play an important role in an asset search, as mentioned at “Asset Search Tips For Divorce & Child Support Cases“.
As my local Swiss counsel advises, making a business of parking assets in Switzerland and concealing their beneficial ownership could possibly violate Art. 305bis Swiss Criminal Code: Money Laundering (English Translation). In addition to 305bis, some of the Swiss laws relevant to money laundering and / or hiding assets include:
- the Federal Act on Combating Money Laundering in the Financial Sector: Anti-Money Laundering Act, AMLA (English Translation).
- Art. 305ter Swiss Criminal Code: Insufficient Diligence In Financial Transactions and Right to Report (English Translation).
- Art. 260ter Swiss Criminal Code: Criminal Organizations (English Translation).
- Art. 260quinquies Swiss Criminal Code: Financing Terrorism (English Translation).
- Art. 69 to 72 Swiss Criminal Code: Confiscation (English Translation).
- Art. 102 and 102a Swiss Criminal Code: Corporate Criminal Responsibility (English Translation).
Given all of the foregoing, there are a number of legal strategies that might be used in connection with the divorcing husband’s assets hidden in Switzerland. Among other things these strategies could include: enlisting the help of foreign financial investigators like the above-mentioned former Criminal Intelligence Specialist; retaining local counsel in Switzerland; and prosecuting letters rogatory / legal assistance requests.
(Edited February 1, 2010)
Copyright 2007-2010 Fred L. Abrams