Numbered bank accounts

From ArticleWorld

Numbered bank accounts are bank accounts provided by Swiss banks to a large part of their clients and customers. The account is similar to the accounts offered by the banks of other countries. What distinguishes the numbered bank account from the typical account is the fact that the customer's name does not appear on bank statements. This gives the customer greater privacy and discretion in their financial and banking matters. Generally the account along with the number will also have a codename attached to it. This is done to provide greaterconvenience for both the banker as well as the customer. An important feature is that this avoids confusion between the banker and customer as to which account is being referred to. Only the number and code-name appear in all records that are maintained by the bank. This ensures that if the bank statements are lost or stolen, it will not be easy to locate as to who is the owner of the account. Though numbered accounts may have seemed to grant some anonymity, under the present Swiss law all banks are required to know the identity of their customers who are offered accounts. However, the bank maintains its discretion in the case of a numbered account by giving the customer's identity only to a small group of people in the bank, on a limited basis. Besides the customer's name does not appear on the bank's computer which ensures confidentiality in the case of cyber crime. In recent years with the rise of crime and funding of terrorist and disruptive activities using the anonymity of numbered accounts, several laws have been passed to prevent them. Numbered accounts are not to be used to hide the proceeds of a crime. This was incorporated after corrupt dictators to hide wealth plundered from their citizens used numbered accounts. However, for several decades the Swiss banks have cooperated with the subsequent regimes to return the plundered funds to the country concerned as it happened in the case of Ferdinand Marcos. Besides, Swiss banks now have strict anti-money laundering rules under which suspected cases are reported to the Swiss authorities. They also refuse to accept money from criminal proceeds and report suspected cases to the authorities. Today numbered accounts have more practical uses such as hiding funds from family members, and others who would potentially try to take funds away from the owner. In some countries, this might include criminals, kidnappers and blackmailers, whilst in others it may include unknown persons who might potentially sue, e.g. in a malpractice suit. Obviously numbered accounts are still used for tax evasion, but following new legislations, numbered accounts have lost their attractiveness for fraudsters.