THE CONSULATE GENERAL OF SWITZERLAND IN HONG KONG

 

Hong Kong Annual Economic report 2015
May 16, 2016
Macao Annual Economic report 2015
June 7, 2016
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ECONOMY & FINANCE

  • Total HK tax revenue declines 4 per cent amid property slump (SCMP, May 3)
  • HK retail figures ring up worst quarterly performance since 1999 (SCMP, May 6)
  • HK's financial chief sees 'positive signs' in the economy despite disappointing growth figures (SCMP, May 15)
  • Construction and retail sectors the worst hit in HK's latest unemployment figures (SCMP, May 17)
  • For first time, Zhang Dejiang spells out how HK can seize key role in One Belt, One Road (SCMP, May 18)
  • HK Monetary Authority to boost cybersecurity for city's banking system (SCMP, May 18)
  • HK air passengers to pay fee from August to fund third runway (SCMP, May 31)
  • HK reclaims crown as world's most competitive economy (SCMP, May 31)

DOMESTIC POLITICS

  • HK Independence is not feasible, said the British Consulate (April Daily, May 2)
  • Beijing 'satisfied' with HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, says visiting Zhang Dejiang (SCMP, May 17)
  • Zhang offers olive branch, but stands solidly versus notion of HK independence (SCMP, May 19)
  • State leader's 'soft' take on localism during HK visit surprises (SCMP, May 19)
  • 'Ball is in Beijing's court', HK pan-democrats say after meeting with Zhang Dejiang (SCMP, May 19)
  • Beijing will use law and public opinion to handle HK independence issue, not guns, insists prominent lawyer (SCMP, May 22)
  • HK's student leaders to miss Tiananmen Square vigil for first time after split with organisers (SCMP, May 23)
  • HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying dodges question on whether he will run for another term (SCMP, May 29)
  • Hundreds of Hongkongers march to remember June 4 Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy (SCMP, May 30)
  • June 4 veteran offers advice to HK students: build bridges, not walls (SCMP, May 31)

LEGAL AFFAIRS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

  • New protest puts pressure on paper over sacking (The Standard, May 3)
  • HK cracks down on illegal money flows from mainland China trade (SCMP, May 6)
  • Law-breakers must not escape punishment, state leader tells HK (SCMP, May 18)
  • Don't let China carry out illegal operations on foreign soil, daughter of missing HK bookseller urges US panel (SCMP, May 25)

HEALTH

  • HK mothers need more support with breastfeeding (SCMP, May 5)
  • Organ donation rates lowest for HK's young people, survey finds (SCMP, May 12)
  • HK researchers pioneer use of 3D printing for faster, safer heart surgery (SCMP, May 24)
  • Way over the limit: HK study finds excessive pesticide residue in Chinese herbs (SCMP, May 29)

ENVIRONMENT

  • HK urged to improve ventilation and use cleaner vehicles to combat cancer threat from pollution (SCMP, May 4)
  • Government advised to tighten green roof standards nine years ago (SCMP, May 24)

CULTURE AND EDUCATION

  • Three HK universities make top 80 in world reputation rankings (SCMP, May 5)
  • Lights out for controversial 2047 'Countdown Machine' art installation on HK's ICC building (SCMP, May 23)

MACAU

  • Macau leader denies wrongdoing over 100m yuan university donation (SCMP, May 11)

PRESS ARTICLES RELATED TO SWITZERLAND AND SWISS MATTERS

  • Swiss authorities approve dissolution of BSI Bank over its involvement in Malaysian 1MDB scandal (AFP, SCMP, May 24)

Economy + Finance
Total HK tax revenue declines 4 per cent amid property slump (SCMP, May 3):
As the property market slumped, HK's tax income declined about 4 per cent to HK$291.3 billion from a record HK$301.9 billion in 2014-15, according to the latest figures released by the Inland Revenue Department. It is the first decline in tax revenue since 2009-10, when takings declined 6.5 per cent in the wake of the global financial crisis. The 2015-16 fall was mainly due to a 16 per cent decline in revenue from stamp duty, from HK$74.8 billion in 2014-15 to HK$62.7 billion last year. The department predicted that total takings in 2016-17 would drop further to HK$276.8 billion, with stamp duty recording a further 20 per cent drop to HK$50 billion.

HK retail figures ring up worst quarterly performance since 1999 (SCMP, May 6):
HK's retail business has taken a severe beating, with first-quarter sales plunging 12.5 per cent in a worrying reflection of the economic impact of mainland visitors spending less. It was the poorest first-quarter performance since 1999, when a 13.8 per cent nosedive was recorded, and the worst may be yet to come. Jewellery, watches and other valuable gifts, usually popular with mainland visitors, plunged by 20.3 per cent. They were followed by apparel and commodities in department stores, declining 11 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively. A government spokesman blamed the “weak” retails figures on inbound tourism. “The uncertain economic outlook and asset market consolidation conceivably also hurt local consumption sentiment,” he said.

HK's financial chief sees 'positive signs' in the economy despite disappointing growth figures (SCMP, May 15):
HK's finance chief John Tsang sought to shore up concerns at what he called “disappointing but not unexpected” quarterly economic growth, pointing to relatively positive signs in recent trade and visitor figures. He cited the narrowing decline in tourist numbers to HK – especially the slight uptick in visitors during the extended Labour Day weekend – as one of the “positive signals”. He highlighted the “relatively small decline” in export trade compared to other Asian economies. Quarterly performance figures showed the economy grew 0.8 per cent in the first three months, its slowest quarterly growth in four years amid volatile stock and property markets, weak retail sales and a slowing mainland economy. Economist Andy Kwan, director of the ACE Centre for Business and Economic Research, however, said the economic figures from the first quarter looked “very bad”. “The worrying sign is that private consumption expenditure, a big driver of the city's economy, grew only 1.1 per cent,” Kwan said. “This could be a sign that the city is heading towards a recession.”

Construction and retail sectors the worst hit in HK's latest unemployment figures (SCMP, May 17):
The construction and retail sectors are the worst hit by HK's economic doldrums, as the latest unemployment rate remained at the highest level in two years. The government said that the overall jobless figure stood at 3.4 per cent between February and April. Economists warned the jobless rate – which had remained at a relatively low level – will climb further by the end of this year, through delays of the city's large infrastructure projects and an expected influx of fresh graduates over the summer.

For first time, Zhang Dejiang spells out how HK can seize key role in One Belt, One Road (SCMP, May 18):
Beijing is going all out to bring HK on board its “One Belt, One Road” trade strategy, with the nation's third-highest-ranking leader Zhang Dejiang identifying four key areas for the city to focus on. In his keynote speech at the Belt and Road Summit, Zhang Dejiang highlighted the professional sectors, financial services, “people-to-people exchanges” and cooperation with the mainland on developing businesses along the land and sea routes connecting China with the rest of Eurasia. The state leader who oversees HK affairs also called on the city to participate in the nation's development “more proactively” with Beijing's backing.

HK Monetary Authority to boost cybersecurity for city's banking system (SCMP, May 18):
Speaking at the Cyber Security Summit, the authority's chief executive Norman Chan stated that while banks in HK had so far very few incidents of serious cyberattacks, there was “no place for complacency if we wish to retain our competitive edge as a preferred financial hub in Asia”. Security experts have found that the banking sector is 300 per cent more likely to face cyberattacks than any other sector, HK Institute of Bankers chief executive Carrie Leung said at the event. In its initiative, the authority aims to assess banks' risk profile, offer a professional development programme to train more cybersecurity professionals in the city, and create a platform for banks to share cyber intelligence and take active steps to minimise the chance of being attacked. The authority is to follow up with banks to ensure that their cybersecurity measures are adequate.

HK air passengers to pay fee from August to fund third runway (SCMP, May 31):
Air travellers will pay a fee starting from August to fund construction of the airport's third runway when initial reclamation work begins on the project, the Airport Authority said. Outbound and transit passengers will pay up to HK$70-180 towards the expansion at Hong Kong International Airport, which is due to be completed by 2023.

HK reclaims crown as world's most competitive economy (SCMP, May 31):
Despite constant concerns that HK is losing its edge to mainland and regional rivals, the city has reclaimed the title of the world's most competitive economy, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Centre. The annual survey of 61 jurisdictions around the world pushed the city up one place to the top for 2016, saying HK had “encouraged innovation through low and simple taxation and imposed no restrictions on capital flows”. The US was no longer able to maintain its dominance, falling to third in this year's survey, behind Switzerland.

Domestic politics
HK Independence is not feasible, said the British Consulate (Apple Daily, May 2):
A few young radical organizations have raised the issues of self-determination and independence as a direction for the future of HK. Apple Daily asked five foreign consulates for their evaluation. The British Consulate believed that “one country, two systems” served well hongkongers, the HKSAR Government and the PRC Government. It was the key to HK's stability and prosperity in the long term. As pointed out by the British foreign secretary Philip Hammond, independence was not a practical option for HK. The Canadian Consulate supported the hongkongers' pursuit of democracy under the Basic Law. The principle of “one country, two systems” was able to create a stable and predictable environment to sustain HK's prosperity. The German Consulate declined to comment on manifestoes of those radical organizations whereas both the US and Australian Consulates did not give their feedback yet.

Beijing 'satisfied' with HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, says visiting Zhang Dejiang (SCMP, May 17):
Beijing is “satisfied” with the work of HK's leader Leung Chun-ying, according to Zhang Dejiang, Beijing's third highest-ranking official, who commented on the chief executive months before an election for the top job is to take place. Zhang told dozens of HK officials “the central government is satisfied with the work of the chief executive and of the SAR government” and noted that President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang expressed “full endorsement” for Leung during his annual duty visit to the capital in December.

Zhang offers olive branch, but stands solidly versus notion of HK independence (SCMP, May 19):
Zhang Dejiang, the state leader overseeing Hong Kong affairs, extended an olive branch to those in the city holding views that differed from Beijing's, even as he stood firm on thorny issues such as HK independence. Zhang Dejiang said it was inevitable that some problems had emerged in the implementation of the “one country, two systems” formula but expressed confidence all issues could be resolved with wisdom. The chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee said HK people were discerning enough to know whether the calls for independence and secession would bring advancement or adversity to the city. But in a conciliatory tone, the state leader said he noted HK was a pluralistic society and it was normal for there to be different or opposing views. Political commentator Johnny Lau said Zhang was spelling out the central government's tough stance on issues such as HK independence in a soft overture. “The major purpose of Zhang's meeting with pan-democrats is to ease the tension ahead of the Legislative Council elections in September,” Lau said.

State leader's 'soft' take on localism during HK visit surprises analysts (SCMP, May 19):
The distinction made by Zhang Dejiang between localism and independence was striking, according to analysts who weighed in on Zhang's warning against calls for self-determination. Before leaving, Zhang said for a second time that HK was “doomed to be rotten” and everyone would pay a price if locals focused not on economic development but street politics. “Things like self-determination or HK independence would not gain any momentum at all,” Zhang said. A day earlier, he drew a line between independence and localism, saying the latter was fine but the former was merely “secession in the name of localism”. Analysts said Zhang was speaking in the softest possible manner, to the extent that local sentiments as defined by loyalty or love for one city's were welcomed so long as the Basic Law – which stipulates HK as an “inalienable” part of China – was respected. “State leaders had never commented on localism in a positive manner. Zhang did not shy away from this issue,” said Professor Qi Pengfei, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of HK and Macau Studies. The scholar said the central government recognised the need to unite the majority and differentiate pan-democrats and localist groups from those calling outright for independence.

'Ball is in Beijing's court', HK pan-democrats say after meeting with Zhang Dejiang (SCMP, May 19):
Four pan-democrats were treated with rare warmth by Beijing; they engaged with Zhang Dejiang who assured them that further dialogue would follow their meeting. “During the cocktail reception, we listened – patiently listened – to the views from key members ... of what we used to call the pan-democratic camp, or opposition camp – let us not talk about camps or factions. There could be interactions in future,” said Zhang. Democratic Party leader Emily Lau, one of the four pan-democrats who met the state leader, said it was too early to say whether a regular communication channel with Beijing officials would be established. “We are always open to communication, but the ball is in their court. [Regular dialogue] will not happen if we count on the HK government,” Lau said. Such dialogue, though, could pose a risk to the pan-democrats' electoral prospects come September if they are viewed as being soft on Beijing. “Criticisms are expected,” said the Civic Party's Alan Leong, another pan-democrat who met Zhang. “But what is important is what's best for HK.”

Beijing will use law and public opinion to handle HK independence issue, not guns, insists prominent lawyer (SCMP, May 22):
Beijing will use only law and public opinion but not force to handle the pro-independence drive in HK, says Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam. The development came a day after Basic Law Committee vice-chairman Zhang Rongshun was quoted by pro-Beijing barrister Lawrence Ma as saying that the Chinese government would be able to handle the issue with “guns and cannons” if activists gathered enough strength to make HK an independent state. Pan-democrats said Zhang's reported remarks had swept away the relatively relaxed atmosphere deliberately created by National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang during his visit to the city. In a bid to cool the outcry, Tam, who attended the same closed-door meeting with Zhang Rongshun in Beijing alongside Ma, tried to clarify the legal expert's stance. She said Zhang's remarks were mixed up and emphasised that his conclusion was that only law and public opinion would be used to handle the independence issue. “He has ruled out using swords, guns and force ... so the public do not have to worry about the problem of 'guns and cannons',” Tam told RTHK's City Forum. Tam, a Hong Kong delegate to the national legislature, also said the city should handle the independence issue itself despite its controversial nature. Neither Hongkongers nor Beijing wanted to see the central government take the lead, she said.

HK's student leaders to miss Tiananmen Square vigil for first time after split with organisers (SCMP, May 23):
Student leaders will for the first time be absent from the annual candlelight vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown, amid the rise of localist sentiment in HK. The vigil is the biggest rally in the world commemorating the crackdown. The Federation of Students earlier said some of its members thought it should not support one of the alliance's key goals, of “building a democratic China” but focus on the democratic development in the city.

HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying dodges question on whether he will run for another term (SCMP, May 29):
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying gave no clear signal about whether he would seek a second term next year but admitted his administration had not solved all livelihood issues, especially housing. But the city's leader urged whoever will take up the job to continue the policies he launched. According to the Housing Authority, the average wait for family applicants for public rental housing has increased from 3.7 years last year to 3.9 this year. The number of applicants on the waiting list is around 284,800.

Hundreds of Hongkongers march to remember June 4 Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy (SCMP, May 30):
The turnout of the annual march commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 has dropped by half this year amid a rising localist sentiment in HK. Only 1,500 Hongkongers have joined the march from Wanchai to the Beijing's liaison office in Western District, according to the organisers, comparing to the 3,000 last year. The drop came amid a growing rift between the younger generation and the HK Alliance. The student unions of the city's universities would boycott the annual candlelight vigil in Victoria Park on June 4 as they disagree with one of the organisers' key demands – “to build a democratic China”, with some student leaders said the commemoration should come to an end.

June 4 veteran offers advice to HK students: build bridges, not walls (SCMP, May 31):
Wang Dan, a former student leader of the June 4 protest in Tiananmen Square, has warned young Hongkongers that isolated political movements will fail. He made his comments after some university students said they would boycott the candlelight vigil at Victoria Park on Saturday June 4 because they disagreed with the organisers' call to build a democratic China. The students also said the commemoration was not related to HK. The vigil was not just a remembrance of the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the democracy movement flowered before being crushed by the leadership; it was also a protest against Beijing, Wang said. The HK Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China has organised the vigil every year since 1990. But the gathering has drawn criticism from some younger people in recent years, with the HK Federation of Students announcing its members would not be taking part for the first time this year.

Legal affairs and human rights
New protest puts pressure on paper over sacking (The Standard, May 3):
About 450 reporters, politicians and citizens wearing black and white urged Ming Pao to reinstate its former executive chief editor Keung Kwok-yuen and to replace editor-in-chief Chong Tien Siong to stabilize morale in the newsroom. Ming Pao Staff Association chairwoman Phyllis Tsang said they were waiting for a response from management and had no detailed plan for their next action. The rally at Ming Pao headquarters in Chai Wan was organized by eight media associations, including the HK Journalists Association, Journalism Educators for Press Freedom and the Foreign Correspondents' Club. Sitting on the road, the angry mass chanted "Defend Ming Pao" and "Defend HK press freedom."

HK cracks down on illegal money flows from mainland China trade (SCMP, May 6):
HK is conducting a multipronged customs, shipping and financial sector crackdown on so-called fake trade invoicing that allows billions of dollars of capital to flow illegally into the city from the mainland. The HK Monetary Authority said it had beefed up its scrutiny of banks' trade financing operations, while customs officials were conducting more random checks on shipments crossing border posts and raids on warehouses to ensure the authenticity of goods, senior officials working in shipping, logistics and banking said. “The HKMA has over the past years taken steps to require banks to implement better systems and controls to deter and detect suspicious transactions,” said Stewart McGlynn, the HKMA's head of anti-money laundering and financial crime risk, referring to a surge in suspicious transactions reported by banks. Those reports rose to 35,000 last year, double the number in 2011.

Law-breakers must not escape punishment, state leader tells HK (SCMP, May 18):
Everyone is equal before the law in HK and no offenders can escape punishment for transgressions no matter what reason they might have, China's third highest-ranking official Zhang Dejiang said in a passing mention of his views on the city's judiciary. Although stopping short of calling it meddling in the city's judicial independence, legal practitioners and scholars were quick to point out that Zhang's comment showed the difference between the legal systems in HK and across the border, where presumption of innocence is not upheld.

Don't let China carry out illegal operations on foreign soil, daughter of missing HK bookseller urges US panel (SCMP, May 25):
The daughter of detained publisher Gui Minhai took her fight for her father's release to Washington, calling on the international community to confront Beijing and accusing Chinese agents of abducting the publisher on foreign soil. From October last year, five associates from Mighty Current publishing house and its Causeway Bay Books store started to go missing. Gui vanished in October from Pattaya, Thailand. Lam Wing-kee, Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por disappeared while on the mainland in the same month. Lee Po went missing in December from HK. Their disappearances sparked fears that they were kidnapped by Chinese agents, as their companies specialised in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party. All of them later surfaced on the mainland, saying in front of state media that they travelled there out of their own free will. Gui, who was born on the mainland and later became a naturalised Swedish citizen, has been accused of ordering his associates to deliver about 4,000 banned books across the border since October 2014. He remains in detention.

Health
HK mothers need more support with breastfeeding (SCMP, May 5):
HK is lagging behind when it comes to providing family-friendly facilities and the government should introduce stronger building guidelines to do more for breastfeeding mothers, say concern groups. A Unicef HK survey found that 40 per cent of mothers in the city have had an unpleasant experience while breastfeeding in a public place. Unicef called for wider support of breastfeeding friendly policies in shopping malls, after 95 per cent of mothers said they would be more willing to feed their children publicly if measures were in place. A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said a loose guideline encouraging provision of baby care rooms on private premises was issued in 2009, and added that additional measures would be considered if necessary to promote breastfeeding.

Organ donation rates lowest for HK's young people, survey finds (SCMP, May 12):
The city's young people have the lowest number of registered organ donors according to a HK-based survey that highlighted a lack of education on the issue. Only about a third of the Hongkongers polled in the survey had registered to be organ donors, despite over 90 per cent of them agreeing to make a donation after their death. The findings prompted Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man to state that he hoped better education about life and death issues would help boost registrations. Currently, only around 200,000 people are registered to donate according to a list managed by the Department of Health – amounting to around 2 per cent of the city's population.

HK researchers pioneer use of 3D printing for faster, safer heart surgery (SCMP, May 24):
Personalised models of complex heart structures can now be created with the latest 3D printing technology jointly introduced by the Chinese University and the University of HK, allowing doctors to do a more precise planning before surgeries. The technology has so far been applied during three operations involving left atrial appendage occlusion out of 49 of the same type performed between April last year and March this year. The team hopes to introduce 3D printers in routine medical procedures in hospitals in the future and to provide a speedy process for operation planning.

Way over the limit: HK study finds excessive pesticide residue in Chinese herbs (SCMP, May 29):
The Health Department has been urged to include a wider range of pesticide residues in tests of traditional Chinese herbs after a sample was found by the Democratic Party to contain a pesticide that was 313 times over the European Union standard. The department, which regulates the safety of Chinese herbs, tests 37 types of pesticide residue in herbs in 30 samples collected each month. However, more than 300 types of pesticide are commonly in use. Among the 37 types, only nine clearly listed maximum pesticide limits in the Chinese Materia Medica Standards compiled by the department. In a food surveillance study led by party lawmaker Helena Wong, seven out of the 12 herb samples bought in April were found to contain pesticides exceeding the European standard. She suggested including more pesticides for testing in Chinese herbs, as the Centre for Food Safety tested around 360 types of pesticide in food.

Environment
HK urged to improve ventilation and use cleaner vehicles to combat cancer threat from pollution (SCMP, May 4):
A better ventilated city, cleaner vehicles and more pedestrianised areas are among the suggestions by experts to minimise exposure to pollutants after a study confirmed a link between tiny particles in the air and a higher risk of death from multiple cancers. The study by the University of HK and the University of Birmingham revealed that the risk of dying from any cancer rose by 22 per cent for every 10 micrograms per cubic metre of increased exposure to PM2.5 – the fine airborne particulates that are small enough to enter the lungs.

Government advised to tighten green roof standards nine years ago (SCMP, May 24):
Little has been done by the government to come up with a set of clear guidelines for adding greenery to rooftops, despite being advised to do so nine years ago by its consultant, a study has revealed. Veteran urban designer Peter Cookson Smith, whose consulting firm Urbis had recommended the Architectural Services Department devise a set of “reliable standards” for building green roofs in a study carried out in 2007, said they should require approvals from the Buildings Department and closer supervision was necessary. Cookson Smith said the public has neglected the risks involved in adding such features to rooftops, even on a small scale. His comments came after the collapse of the green roof above a sports centre at City University, which left three injured, about a week after hundreds of students took exams under the same roof.

Culture and Education
Three HK universities make top 80 in world reputation rankings (SCMP, May 5):
Hong Kong's three leading universities have made the top 80 of the annual Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings for the first time, although the list is still dominated by US and European institutions. the University of Hong Kong (HKU) topped the city's tertiary institutions at 45. Chinese University ranked between 71 and 80, sharing the same group as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

Lights out for controversial 2047 'Countdown Machine' art installation on HK's ICC building (SCMP, May 23):
The Arts Development Council has abruptly suspended a politically sensitive art installation on the facade of the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon, a move which its creator believes to involve “people in power and at high levels”. The council declared that the piece by local artists Sampson Wong and Jason Lam, which featured a countdown to July 1, 2047 – the date when Beijing's promise to maintain the city's way of life under “one country, two systems” expires – was no longer part of the Fifth Large-Scale Public Media Art Exhibition: Human Vibrations. The display coincided with the visit by Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang, who was residing at the Grand Hyatt hotel just across the water from the ICC. The statement released by the council stated that Wong changed the title and statement of the work without consulting the curator or the council.

Macau
Macau leader denies wrongdoing over 100m yuan university donation (SCMP, May 11):
Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui, at centre of a row over favouritism involving 100 million yuan (HK$119 million) of public funds donated to a mainland university, has denied any wrongdoing. Controversy arose last week after mainland media reported the donation by the public Macau Foundation to Jinan University to mark the 110th anniversary of the Guangzhou institution. But critics said there was a conflict of interest. Chui is the deputy head of the university's board and chairman of the foundation's board of trustees. His brother, Chui Sai-cheong, heads the foundation's supervisory board.

Press articles related to Switzerland and Swiss matters
Swiss authorities approve dissolution of BSI Bank over its involvement in Malaysian 1MDB scandal (AFP, SCMP, May 24):
Swiss financial regulators approved the dissolution of Lugano-based BSI Bank over its links to a corruption scandal engulfing Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. Swiss supervisor FINMA accused BSI, a merchant bank, of “serious breaches” of money-laundering regulations in its dealings with the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which is at the heart of the corruption allegations. In the toughest punitive action yet announced in the affair, FINMA said in a statement it was approving the takeover of the merchant bank by Zurich-based private banking group EFG International on the condition that BSI is integrated “and thereafter dissolved” within 12 months. It ordered the seizure of 95 million Swiss francs of BSI's “illegally generated” profits. The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland said earlier in the day that it had opened criminal proceedings against BSI “based on information revealed by the criminal proceedings in the 1MDB case”. Singapore's central bank, which is working with the Swiss authorities in its investigations, said that it was kicking out BSI. The Singapore central bank said it had asked state prosecutors to investigate six senior executives of BSI Bank for possible criminal offences and fined it S$13.3 million for 41 breaches of Singapore's laws against money laundering.

This is a review of the Hong Kong media and does not necessarly represent the opinion of the Consulate General of Switzerland. The Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong does not bear any responsibility for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which might be incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected.

31.5.2016

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