Swiss Sanction Gazprombank in Wake of Panama Papers Leak

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Switzerland’s market regulator said Thursday it has banned the Swiss affiliate of Russia’s Gazprombank from taking new private clients over money laundering concerns over a 10-year period that emerged from the Panama Papers leak.

The move marks the first and only time that Swiss markets authority, FINMA, identified or penalized any company for wrongdoing after the April 2016 leak, which exposed tax avoidance worldwide — including by some close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The regulator said it turned up “serious shortcomings in anti-money laundering processes” linked to private clients at Zurich-based Gazprombank Switzerland, which is owned by Gazprombank, a bank founded by natural gas giant Gazprom.

The regulator said it had investigated over 30 Swiss banks after the Panama Papers revelations came out, and “in-depth” investigations took place on about 20. But Gazprombank was the only one it sanctioned.

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