From trust to betrayal

The fight against money laundering can cause considerable strain on banker-client relations

Today, bankers are expected to perform two contradictory duties. On the one hand, following contractual rulings on banking relations and the behaviour expected from the fiduciary relationship with the client, the banker is committed to taking utmost care of the client’s interests while also preserving their privacy. On the other hand, according to international standards and national legislations against money laundering, the banker is obliged to monitor the client and report any suspicion of misconduct to the national money laundering authorities. The conflict is even more appalling as the banker is obliged to hide any suspicions from the client and, if the client has been denounced, to freeze their assets and not inform them about it.

Bertil Cottier

Bertil Cottier is dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the University of Lugano in Switzerland. A full professor of Law since 2005, he teaches commercial, international, media and public law. His research interests focus on the domain of confidentiality and data protection.

Rudi Palmieri

Rudi Palmieri is teaching assistant at the Institute of Linguistics and Semiotics, University of Lugano. He is currently conducting a PhD research project about the role of argumentation in the negotiation of M&A deals.