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Case-law

Right of access

An abuse of rights against the family office

The right of access under the DPA is abused when a person invokes it against a family office to obtain information concerning a trust and the financial situation of his father (ACJC/1610/2023). A very wealthy Italian businessman has a family office in Geneva, which performs various services for his daughter. Payments to her were made from the father's account. The father tells the family office that his daughter has a budget limit of EUR 100,000 per month. The daughter receives[...]

Retrocessions and execution only

The saga that became a soap opera

According to a popular German expression, "Totgesagte leben länger. Despite their oft-heralded demise, retrocessions continue to enrich the civil case law of the Federal Supreme Court. However, practitioners are still waiting for the Federal Supreme Court to take a definitive stance on whether retrocessions in execution-only relationships should be subject to restitution. Unfortunately, these hopes were dashed in the ruling presented here (TF 4A_496/2023 of 27 February 2024): "Damit braucht auf die umstrittene Frage, ob grundsätzlich auch im Execution only-Verhältnis[...]

The saga continues

Mutual assistance in criminal matters suspended, but sequestration maintained

In a ruling 1C_543/2023 of 7 March 2024, which is intended for publication, the Federal Supreme Court (FSC) confirms its case law concerning the suspension of mutual assistance and the maintenance of sequestration of funds seized in Switzerland in execution of a request submitted by Russia prior to the aggression in Ukraine. It extended the suspension to a sequestration that had already lasted eight years and ruled out the possibility of invoking Article 2 EIMP. The Federal Criminal Court (FCT)[...]

Unfair competition

Can an intermediary’s commissions be confiscated ?

In a ruling 7B_135/2022, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court details the conditions under which commissions resulting from contracts tainted by an offence of unfair competition may be subject to confiscatory measures (art. 70 and 71 of the Swiss Criminal Code). A Swiss public limited company active in private equity proposed, on behalf of a foreign entity, the purchase of shares in a German company operating in the medical sector. The search for new investors generally began with "cold" telephone calls.[...]

Initial Coin Offering

When do investment tokens become securities ?

In a ruling dated 16 January 2024 (B_4185/2020), the Federal Administrative Court (FAT) upheld a FINMA decision of 19 June 2020 finding that a Swiss company and one of its directors had, as a group, engaged in unlawful securities trading, in the absence of authorisation, as an issuing house that had offered securities in the form of investment tokens to the public on a professional basis. As part of an initial coin offering (ICO) with a foreign issuer, the Swiss[...]

Insider trading

Front running and the reasonable investor test

Do a fund manager's own plans and intentions constitute insider information if he engages in front running? This is the question that the Criminal Affairs Court of the Federal Criminal Court is answering in a case involving a former manager of second-pillar pension funds for employees of the canton of St. Gallen. In July 2022, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) filed an indictment against a former employee of the Finance Department of the Canton of St.[...]

Internal investigation

Criminal procedural guarantees do not apply

Employers are not obliged to implement the minimum guarantees of criminal procedure in the context of internal investigations, according to ruling 4A_368/2023 of 19 January 2024. An employee had worked for a bank since 2010. In August 2018, a colleague reported the employee internally for sexual harassment, which led to the opening of an internal investigation. Following the investigation report, the Bank terminated the employment contract. The employee contested his dismissal on the grounds that it was unfair. The Zurich[...]

Automated individual decisions

The credit scoring company must inform the persons concerned

Even if the company carrying out the credit scoring is not the company that ultimately decides whether to grant a loan, it takes an automated individual decision and must therefore inform the data subject (CJEU ruling of December 7, 2023 in case C-634/21, SCHUFA Holding AG). Following the refusal of a loan by a bank, a German national requested various items of information from SCHUFA, the leading German company for credit checks. The refusal of the loan was justified on[...]