Leading International Banks Establish Anti-Money Laundering Principles

Banks work with Transparency International on guidelines for private banking

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat

A group of the world's largest banks have agreed to a set of global anti-money laundering guidelines for international private banks. The new guidelines were jointly announced today by 11 banks and by Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption organization, who jointly stated that they anticipate the principles will be widely accepted by a growing number of financial institutions.

The participating institutions are ABN AMRO Bank, Barclays Bank, Banco Santander Central Hispano, S.A., The Chase Manhattan Private Bank, Citibank, N.A., Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Inc., Société Générale, and UBS AG. The new guidelines state at the outset: "Bank policy will be to prevent the use of its world-wide operations for criminal purposes. The bank will endeavor to accept only those clients whose source of wealth and funds can be reasonably established to be legitimate."

Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), stated: "We have served as the catalyst for the leading banks to come together in a year-long process to exchange their policies and practices with a view to formulating principles, which will make it harder for corrupt people to deposit their ill-gotten gains in the world's banking system. We have provided expert advice throughout a process that now commits the senior managements of the participating banks to the enforcement of the principles that are being published today."

An important working session to formulate the guidelines was held in Wolfsberg, Switzerland, and, accordingly the new guidelines may become known as the "Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles." 

Dr. Eigen and TI Board Director Fritz Heimann led the TI effort and were joined as an advisor by Professor Pieth, a Swiss expert on money laundering and the Chairman of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, who stated: "This is the first time that a broad range of banks have agreed to come together to fine-tune the 'know your customer' rules. From the perspective of the OECD's work against corruption this private initiative is highly significant. It helps to make it far more difficult to create slush funds for bribery and to hide corruption money in the regulated banking sector, since the level of awareness is raised substantially and in an internationally standardized way."

TI Chairman Eigen added: "We now have a set of principles that TI believes will be seen by regulators as representing a standard that all banks engaged in international private banking should be encouraged to adopt."

The principles represent the group's effort to establish anti-money laundering guidelines that are viewed as appropriate when dealing with clients in the global marketplace. The principles deal with diverse aspects of "know your customer" policies that pertain to relationships between high net worth individuals and the private banking departments of financial institutions. They also deal with the identification and follow-up of unusual or suspicious activities.

Provisions in the new guidelines, for example, relate to the efforts of bankers to secure the accurate identity of individuals opening private banking accounts. From time to time individuals may seek to secure anonymity for themselves and use third parties to represent them on opening accounts. The guidelines state clearly: "Beneficial ownership must be established for all accounts."

For any press enquiries please contact

Jeff Lovitt, Head of Public Relations
Tel: +4930 3438 200,
Fax: +4930 3470 3912
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Washington DC
Frank Vogl, TI Vice Chairman
Tel: (202) 331 8183,
Fax: 49-30-3470 3912
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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