Jersey and Swiss finance industries ‘together’ in beating financial crime

Peter Morgan, volunteer at la Hougue Bie, and Markus Leitner, Swiss ambassador Picture: ROB CURRIE. (37634291)

SWITZERLAND and Jersey are “serious about fighting financial crimes”, the Alpine nation’s ambassador to the UK has said on a visit to the Island.

Markus Leitner met leaders in the financial services industry on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 March, as well as the Island’s Swiss community.

Though it was his first visit to the Island, he said he had heard many stories about it growing up – as his mother had worked as an au-pair in Jersey in 1961.

“We’re not in the business of exporting a Swiss model, telling people how to do things better,” he said.

“I think, for us, it’s better to share notes. We’re both economies outside the European Union, so we have similar questions, similar challenges sometimes, definitely the same interlocutors in Brussels.”

He added that the two international finance centres had recently collaborated to block money involved in international corruption cases.

“One topic that we have in common is that we are serious about fighting financial crimes,” he said.

“This is a joint experience that we have and I want to strengthen that cooperation. We are together in this. We’re serious financial centres that don’t want to be abused by both financial criminals.”

Though the main topic broached during the visit was the financial services industry, Mr Leitner added that the two jurisdictions could compare experiences with agriculture and infrastructure projects.

“It’s interesting to see the big projects: the wind farm, the tunnel project.

“We are a country of tunnels. So it is interesting to us to see what Jersey is thinking around this.

“I don’t know if this will come to fruition. But these are interesting developments for us as well.”

Mr Leitner met members of the government, the Bailiff, Jersey Finance, the JFSC, a number of Swiss finance companies and Visit Jersey. The Swiss delegation also visited several cultural sites, including a grave in St Martin where David Bandinel, the first Anglican Dean of Jersey, who was originally from Geneva, is buried.

They got an express tour through La Hougue Bie museum, including crawling into the chamber and bunker – and with wife Doris taking pictures of the museum signs, the delegation would have plenty of reading to catch up on later.

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