The Swiss government is confident that Hamas is not using the country’s banks, given the widespread condemnation of the group as a terrorist organization.
(Bloomberg) — The Swiss government is confident that Hamas is not using the country’s banks, given the widespread condemnation of the group as a terrorist organization.
“You know that Hamas has already been defined as a prohibited terrorist organization by the large majority of countries, including our principal financial partners, the US and the EU,” Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told reporters on Friday in Geneva. “We have no sense that the financial system could allow itself to have any kind of financial relations with Hamas,” given the wide scope of US sanctions against it, he said.
A task force — set up to analyze the requirements for drafting a new Swiss law condemning Hamas — will also verify financial flows from Swiss government agencies to non-governmental organizations that work in the region, Cassis said.
The minister’s remarks come three days after Swiss lawmakers demanded that Hamas be labeled a terrorist organization after its attack on Israel. The government subsequently signaled support for a change that could challenge Switzerland’s decades-old status as a non-aligned mediator in Middle East conflicts.
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Unlike in the US, the UK or the European Union, Hamas can open bank accounts in Switzerland, according to finance and law expert Mark Pieth.
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