The era of bank accounts in Switzerland with the repute of managing offshore and allegedly illicit wealth, is an enigma in a digital financial age, is ending as it commences to share clients data with tax authorities of other countries.The Alpine nation recognised for its banking confidentiality practices has come under immense pressure from European countries and also Pakistan for dealing against the proceeds of illicit wealth. It has faced scandals such as 1MDB, Uzbek telecoms, FIFA, and Brazilian graft. The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland commenced its pioneer exchange of financial account data in September this year complying to international standards with the objective to stifle and identify tax evasion. Initially exchange is to be between EU countries and nine other additional jurisdictions including Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea, however, excluding Romania which did not comply with international requirements on confidentiality and data security. The scope and sheer magnitude of data exceeds 7,000 banks, trusts, insurers and other financial institutions registered with the FTA which digitally forwarded the data of almost two million accounts to collaborating countries.There has been a worldwide cry that criminals attempt to launder proceeds in Switzerland from a wide gamut of dubious sources: predominantly for financial crimes, narcotics trafficking, arms trafficking, organized crime and corruption. Switzerland has significant anti money laundering (AML) legislations in place, exposing banks and other financial intermediaries to stringent reporting requirements despite statutory obligations to identify, trace, seize and forfeit narcotics linked assets. The Money Laundering Control Authority operates under the umbrella of the Federal Finance Department as well as accredited Self Regulatory Organisation being essentially approved by the Swiss authorities to oversee the implementation of AML. The Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled “money laundering can be committed through omission if the offender has an affirmative obligation to take actions, such as the duty to clarify unusual or suspicious transactions, or to file a report to MROS under AMLA”.Switzerland implements international standards of money laundering through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) an international body of experts having its secretarial base at OECD. The implementation of AML is conducted through the provisions embodied in the Swiss Criminal Code (Articles 305, 305), Federal Act on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Switzerland has the second highest GDP per capita in the world at USD $ 81,000 and 74 percent of its GDP is attributable to the service sector, 25 percent to industry, with agriculture contributing less than 1 percent. Its public debt-to-GDP ratio presently hovers around 34 percent. Surprisingly, Switzerland has the lowest rate of value added tax in Europe and 8 percent levied on goods and servicesArticle 305 of the Swiss Criminal Code prohibits ‘any person to carry out any act that is suitable to frustrate the identification of the origin, the tracing or the forfeiture of assets which he knows or must accept originate from a felony or aggravated tax misdemeanour’. Like Pakistan, Switzerland was scraped by in its recent review by FATF but was advised several core recommendations keeping in view the perception that it has barely revised its AML statues over the past two decades. To its credit and partially attributable to remaining in the international financial and banking system the Swiss financial regulator has maintained an aggressive position on money laundering, supervising sanctioned measures against banks including Banca della Svizzera Italiana, Gazprombank in Switzerland and Julius Baer.Swiss bank Rothschild Bank AG and a subsidiary seriously breached money laundering rules in connection with the massive financial scandal that toppled Malaysia’s corruption plagued regime, when Swiss AML authorities investigated a sprawling financial scam. The culpability of Rothschild Bank AG was that it reported the dubious nature and origin of its clients. Falcon Private Bank Abu Dhabi shareholders essentially cramped the Swiss bank to launder money, which eventually besmirched the repute of the Swiss bank. The Swiss Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) dealt with around 4,700 cases of suspicious activity involving almost 16 billion francs and what is chilling is that suspected cases of terrorist financing doubled. Reporting institutions were banks closely followed by asset managers, lawyers and casinos.Interestingly Switzerland topped the list of countries where under cloud clients were domiciled and then came Central/South America. Switzerland’s MROS recorded one cluster of cases involving 7 billion Swiss francs ($7 billion) in 2017 which is an indication of the magnitude of illicit money parked in safe havens worldwide. In Pakistan we are fond of claiming fantastic figures and staggering amounts of USD $ 200 billion have been bandied about which is simply incredulous in a country with a GDP of USD $ 284 billion. Switzerland has the second highest GDP per capita in the world at USD $ 81,000 and 74 percent of its GDP is attributable to the service sector, 25 percent to industry, with agriculture contributing less than one percent. Its public debt-to-GDP ratio presently hovers around 34 percent. Surprisingly, Switzerland has the lowest rate of value added tax in Europe and 8 percent levied on goods and services. The Swiss have advanced in technology and academics which has given rise to a robust service sector.Perhaps on this account they do not solicit wealth from across their borders to be parked in Switzerland as investment flows inwards. The annual expenditure on research and development is about 3 percent of its GDP (USD $ 20 billion) mostly from the private sector, and Pakistan should on priority invest heavily in R&D which will pay dividends in the short and long term and will restore confidence in the academic world that it has embarked on the path to development.The author has completed a Bachelor of Science in Business and Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is involved in research in the areas of finance and energyPublished in Daily Times, October 26th 2018.