Swiss media has exposed details of a secret 1970 agreement, between the Government of Switzerland, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which was, at that time, engaged in committing violent terrorist acts throughout Europe, and was regarded as a terrorist organization. Switzerland concealed the agreement from the European Union, and the United States, which, had they known of its existence, might have severely affected diplomatic relations, for the Swiss provided assistance to the PLO, in exchange for a moratorium on terrorist acts within its territory.
Though all the details of the covert agreement are not known, as they reportedly are classified until 2020, Switzerland provided extensive diplomatic assistance to the PLO. Cash payments, which the West certainly regards as providing material support to terrorism, are believed to be one of the benefits included. One other is allowing terrorists to maintain bank accounts, and conduct their business, which gives rise to a number of terrorist financing issues.
Some compliance officers may regard this latest black eye on Switzerland, following as it does the tax evasion scandal involving US taxpayers, as sufficient evidence to raise Country Risk. The issue of whether the Swiss have also cut deals with Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) groups has come up. Should US corporations conduct business with Swiss entities which are fronts for terrorists, not knowing their true beneficial owners, or illegal aims and goals, due to Swiss facilitation and cooperation, risk levels must rise.
Americans, many of who family members served in the Second World War, and still are disturbed when more details emerge about Swiss financial cooperation with Nazi Germany, will not be happy to learn that the Swiss Government chose to cooperate, facilitate, and finance, terrorists, fifty years ago, and such cooperation is most likely ongoing. Swiss bank accounts for terrorists does not go over well, even fourteen years after the events of 9/11.