How intrusive are Swiss banks allowed to be?

They all have KYC policy and they all have identified their customer.

oh well, you are right. It means they want to see the money incoming in Kraken? I’m not a crypto expert but I still think they can’t see much from it. Maybe they can compare with other information they have?

I did. I totally got your point. It’s just that as a check it seems more a stuff they must do rather than a thing they do to discover something.

They all have a policy.

IBKR has never identified me in person though - that is why they only accept funds from or to accounts in my name with entities that identified me.

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I suppose they may want to see if OP is merely speculating / trading - or sending/receiving crypto from third parties (big, big red flag).

Yuh and neon and other Fintechs have also never identified me in person and I can do whatever I want with my accounts. Or Swissquote.

Actually I don’t remember which companies have required a video identification. But it is often the same game: take your ID, take your smartphone, …

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„In person“ as in modern technology, e.g. a video-call may substitute for it, as given the blessing of regulators. Or identification by a third party (e.g. German PostIdent) approved to do so.

Neon did a video call with me.

Swissquote (not Yuh) allows manual transfer in and out of some crypto from/to some whitelisted exchanges.

PS: not saying there aren’t exceptions in identification for a bank account - but they are risk-based (see link to Neon). If they are more relaxed in customer identification, you can expect more transaction-based due diligence.

Or a payment services provider that will eventually be scolded by regulators.

I also had to deal with UBS compliance team and had to provide in total 300 pages of documentation (also related to crypto transfers) and it went down to having to explain why I paid 40 CHF to sunrise or received 100 chf from my wife so nothing surprising. And as mentioned by Cortona if I had not complied my accounts would have been closed.

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That’s nuts, I’d send them the Assets register of the last tax statement and the rest is none of their business.

I’m not sharing the details as to why this audit was triggered but they were just doing their jobs and working for financial institutions what I did with my accounts qualified as a red flag. Surely some of their requests in my case were border line but I thought better send a sunrise bill than having my family accounts closed ^^. It ended up being such a pain because they checked really everything I did to try to match expenses with revenues as to identify whether it all made sense.

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I don‘t get this attitude „none of their business“. This isn‘t McDonalds oder a Döner restaurant. We are talking about the most regulated industry in the world (besides pharma). They don‘t ask those things just for fun or for their own profit, they are obligated to do so in such events.


Then please explain me why my bank needs to know the exact amounts of my crypto purchases? If I would be inquired to proof my crypto purchases I couldn’t as I’ve bought the majority of them on Mt.Gox, an exchange that went backrupt, paid with a credit card that I don’t have anymore since almost 10 years using a bank account that I’ve also changed since 5 years. So would they just flag it as AML and confiscate the money?

From what I experienced they can read a chain explorer ^^. Also if the cryptos are on your tax returns that’s a no brainer. In my case it was about flow of money over a period of time rather than a big payment coming to my account (which is also something they check). On the other hand if you liquidate a big portfolio and you are not able to justify where the money is from then yes they will surely ask you questions and may block the transfer. Reputable crypto exchanges do this as well it’s not just banks.

Even if you declare and taxes on your wealth, it may still originate from money laundering.
That is, you know, kind of the purpose of such „laundering“ :wink:

Which should not be confused with tax evasion. These are two different things. You can pay all the taxes you want, the funds may still be ill-gotten gains laundered.

Well, you mentioned you work in banking, if I‘m not mistaken. „What I’m doing with my money is none of the bank’s business“ is a very common misconception, from my experience.
It also holds true in most areas of life (e.g. when you bought something or seek out a service).

As long as we have a contract with the bank (=a banking relationship) and they “open an account for us” (in practice it must be a line in their records), I think the bank owns that line and therefore the account behind it, even if the money deposited there is ours.

Somewhere along the line, the bank gives us an account on which we deposit our money. So it’s OK to say that the bank doesn’t have to know what you do with your money, as long as you don’t use their services.

Cash is and remains king in this sense, although cash is tending to disappear.

What we have here is a classic conflict of differing laws. On the one hand, Swiss banking secrecy laws give you the right to deny information about your banking relationships to any third party (other than law enforcement authorized by a court to investigate your accounts). On the other hand, we have the bilateral anti-money-laundering agreements with organization like the OECD, which the Swiss government has entered into. These require banks to pry into your banking relationships in contradiction to Swiss banking secrecy laws.

In short: You are not legally obligated to give UBS any information about your other banking relationships (granted, Kraken is not a bank, and IB is sort of a grey area). However, UBS can decide to end their banking relationship with you if you don’t meet the anti-money-laundering demands in their contract (assuming the contract gives them these rights).

My personal opinion: Give UBS the screenshots. Complete the transaction. Then ditch UBS faster than a bumble bee could bat its wings.

I’m perfectly happy to volunteer information to my bank, and do so if I feel it’s beneficial (e.g. tax returns, etc.). But I wouldn’t trust a bank whose contracts are in conflict with Swiss laws (which I actually get to vote on). That, and the fact that UBS needed a huge taxpayer-funded bailout not very long ago, and constantly changes its policies to suit foreign governments (makes sense, considering their exposure to US fines). Smaller banks which serve a Swiss clientelle are generally much less vulnerable to international law suits, and therefore have much less reason to be overbearing or to place foreign laws above Swiss laws. I’ll add to that: Most UBS services are overpriced.


Sorry guys, but this has nothing to do with UBS, but it has everything to do with money laundering laws applicable in banking. Any bank worth it’s license would have flagged such a transaction.

Compliance needs to clarify the transaction. For that, they need proof of source of funds. They shouldn’t require your IB account though, as that is none of their business. They already have a paper trail of where the money went.

Beware that if you don’t give them this source of funds details, they will report you to the FINMA authorities (without telling you, and of course, without closing your account).


I don’t see how UBS contracts are violating Swiss laws. I don’t know whether their inquiries are more invasive than needed or not but I don’t see any laws being violated. It’s not like they directly request information from other banks or hand over your information to other banks.

Yes and no. UBS is internationally exposed, and has been hit by huge fines by the US government. Understandably, the bank will be slightly paranoid and place a stronger emphasis on compliance than other banks might.

I can understand a large transaction from Kraken necessitating the need for further investigation. However, assuming you made the original (outgoing) transactions to Kraken from the same UBS account, there should be no major grounds for suspicion of money laundering. It should be perfectly clear to the bank from your account history where the original capital came from. Furthermore, you are required to declare your capital gains on crypto investments in your tax returns. As long as you have done so, then there is absolutely nothing illegal about investing in crypto. If anything, the bank should ask if you would be willing to provide a copy of the relevant tax declaration so that they can compare outgoing capital to Kraken plus declared returns with the amounts being transferred in from Kraken.

Again, I would recommend that the OP go along with their requests and be completely transparent. Those requests are not unreasonable, they are just somewhat unprofessional.