Swiss gems trader under fire for laundering mafia money with diamonds
The diamonds purchased on the behalf of the Italian members were worth $750,000 in this case, according to reports. The three Italians, who were accomplices of ‘C’, as he is named under local reporting restrictions, were sentenced to prison back in 2011. They managed a VAT tax scam and collected $35 million through the issuance fake tax receipts.
Swiss prosecutors said that ‘C’ should have been knowledgeable on the link between buying the diamonds and the organized tax scam.
The case brings to light the activities of criminal organizations that are turning to gold, diamonds and other precious metals in order to launder and then store their wealth in Switzerland, and potentially in other countries. While Switzerland used to be a hotspot for illegally obtained capital, tougher rules have been implemented in the landlocked European nation.
Since 2013, Switzerland also regularly provides access to details of bank accounts and its holders to different countries. In 2021, the number of countries that Switzerland was sharing such data with was 81.
Criminal organizations as a result have started purchasing bullion and precious gems, and storing them in regulated safety deposit boxes as a way of funneling wealth and laundering money.