Swiss anti-terror financing chief unexpectedly quits

Last year MROS received 7,705 suspicious activity reports from banks, involving CHF12.9 billion. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The head of Switzerland’s anti-money laundering and terror financing unit has stepped down after less than a year in the post, for unknown reasons. Daniel Thelesklaf quit from his second stint as head of the Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS).

This content was published on June 17, 2020 - 19:53

The abrupt departure, reported by news portal Heidi NewsExternal link on Wednesday, was confirmed to by the Swiss federal police, without any explanation as to why the renowned financial crime expert had decided to walk away.

Thelesklaf’s predecessor at MROS had also departed suddenly and without clear explanation. Thelesklaf, who was the first head of MROS from 1998 to 2000, was re-hired on August 1 last year.

In between shifts at the unit, he had advised the International Monetary Fund, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations on complex financial crime issues. He was also director of the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liechtenstein.

MROS plays a vital role in the Swiss financial sector, acting as an intermediary body between banks and the financial regulator with the mandate to track money laundering, terror financing and other serious abuses of the system.

A federal police spokeswoman said that Thelesklaf’s deputy, Gabriela Kolly, had stepped in as interim head of the unit.

Last year MROS received 7,705 suspicious activity reports from banks, involving CHF12.9 billion ($13.6 billion) in assets. From this data it sent some 2,000 reports to the prosecution authorities.

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