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Home BUSINESSSwiss banks investigate thousands of dormant accounts
Tue, 05 May, 2015 03:29:37 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, May 5

Thousands of accounts which have remained untouched for 50 years and which were opened before 1955 are being checked by Swiss banking establishments, according to an article published by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Monday.

     A Swiss Banking Association spokesperson confirmed the report, stressing that the accounts in question belong to both Swiss and foreign nationals and that no groups are being targeted in the investigation.

     Effective since January 2015, new banking laws ensure that information relating to accounts opened at least 60 years ago and unclaimed for the last 50 be released by Swiss banks this year.

     "This publication is important for the banks as it allows them to search very widely for beneficiaries of the unclaimed wealth before the money has to be handed over to the government," the spokeswoman was cited as saying.

     Any account containing 500 CHF (535 U.S. dollars) or more must go through this process before being liquidated - if the amount is inferior to 500 CHF, banks may automatically liquidate the account, with proceeds going to the Swiss Federation.

     This is not the first time the topic of unclaimed accounts has appeared in Switzerland's financial landscape, where stringent secrecy laws have traditionally protected the identities of banking clients. 

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