Saudi Arabia corruption purge targets Swiss banks – Elite fears frozen bank accounts

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants to repatriate 800 Billion Dollars corruption money. 55% of the wealth of the Saudi’s elite is in foreign tax havens. At least 50% is stashed with Swiss banks in Zurich and Geneva. Saudi investors have already contacted me in Switzerland. They are looking for a solution to their problems. They have meetings with Swiss banks, Swiss asset managers and Swiss banking lawyers. They look to move funds to escape asset freeze.

And now the 1 Million Dollar question:

“Can a Swiss bank protect the money chased with the political fishing expedition?”

The answer will follow with surprising facts and figures. Stay tuned.

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What are the plans of the Saudi Arabia corruption committee?

The anti-corruption committee is detaining princes, royals, tycoons and ministers. According to domestic banking sources more than 2000 domestic bank accounts have already been frozen. The cross-border scrutiny of assets has already started in the Gulf region, where Saudi Arabia shares information on a regular basis. The fishing expedition will be extended to Swiss banks very soon. The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has ordered banks to collect and deliver information on 19 accounts held by Saudi nationals, according to Reuters last Thursday the 9th of November.

The funds that have been lost due to corruption, bribes, extortion, taking advantage of public office for personal gain would be 800 Billion Dollars, according to the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

55% of the wealth is already located offshore with foreign tax havens. 50% of the offshore wealth is managed with Swiss banks. Between 250 and 300 Billion Dollars are managed in Switzerland. In the last few months, Swiss banks have attracted substantial new money from Saudi millionaires.

The attorney-general of Saudi Arabia was very happy and excited when he confirmed that a “great deal of evidence” came out of the interviews with the arrested persons.


Saudi Arabia purge king tower

[We collected helpful information from clients being politically exposed persons in Tunisia and in Egypt.]
Our clients were connected to Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak. Such accounts are known as so-called PEP-accounts. PEP-accounts are accounts in the name of politically exposed persons. A Swiss PEP- bank account can be frozen very fast. Therefore, I am convinced that anti-corruption committee headed by Prince Salman will not lose time. My forecast: the first PEP-accounts of Saudi nationals are going to be frozen very soon, within the next few weeks. A simple request for international legal assistance without hard evidence is sufficient to freeze bank accounts. It does not mean that such frozen money will be repatriated to Saudi Arabia. According to my experience with clients from Tunisia and Egypt, it will take years until such funds are repatriated. The fact is that the money is under the risk to be immediately frozen and will stay frozen for years.

Switzerland repatriates Saudi Arabia corruption money?

2016 Switzerland and Nigeria signed an agreement for the repatriation of 300 Million dollars back to Nigeria. 300 Million Dollars are confiscated from the family and the entourage of Sani Abacha, the former ruler of Nigeria. Requests for international legal assistance from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria have led to a freeze of close to 1 Billion Dollars on Swiss bank accounts. This money is still frozen today, since years and years – but not repatriated.

“Often, the assets of very old bank accounts are held with sophisticated offshore structures making it very difficult to show how they were legitimately earned and who really owns them.”


Sometimes, it can be very difficult to collect documentary evidence showing the origin of funds of old bank accounts.

[My strong recommendation] to the legitimate owners of old Swiss bank accounts is, to check immediately, if sufficient documents are available from the Swiss bank today, to be able to show the origin of funds. If there are no sufficient documents available, I would go out of the banking system.

The assets within the banking system are subject to severe anti-money laundering legislation and very high anti-money laundering compliance requirements. When old accounts were opened 15 years ago with Swiss banks, the compliance standards were very low. 15 years ago, no banker asked the client – as it is today – to take care and collect sufficient documents showing the origin of funds.

The Unknown Low level compliance trap!
How to prove Saudi Arabia corruption committee that the funds are legal?

»The legitimate Saudi owners of old bank accounts with legitimate money can be trapped in a very uncomfortable situation.« In case of a request for international legal assistance filed by the anti-corruption committee in Saudi Arabia, they need to document the legitimate origin of funds. How can they present 15 or 20 years old documents showing the legitimate origin of funds, if they have opened their accounts 15 or 20 years ago? At that time, nobody asked for documentary evidence.

swiss-banking-compliance-trapIf you are the owner of a legitimate bank account with honest money but you have no documents evidencing the origin of funds, you should go definitely out of the banking system. The international banking system is over-regulated and under the supervision of the governments. You should invest your money in commercial properties in Switzerland in the name of a Swiss company with bearer shares and controlled by yourself. Commercial properties in Switzerland are considered a very secure investment. Commercial real estate properties are accessible to foreign nationals – without restrictions.

We are in a position to offer to our Saudi clients unique off-market commercial properties in Switzerland. Our real estate properties are making 5% to 8% annual return in Swiss Francs.

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Enzo Caputo - Swiss Banking LawyerIf you want to protect your money in Switzerland, pick up the phone and give me a call now on +41 44 212 44 04. Tell me your specific situation and I will propose you the most efficient and legal asset protection solution. Let’s discuss how to keep your legally earned money secret. Be rich and remain rich. Have a wonderful day.