1. Switzerland $4.5 Billion

  2. Black Market Crime in Switzerland

Switzerland Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Switzerland’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

An investigation by the New York Times found that Al Queada and its affiliates have taken at least $125 million in revenue from kidnapping for ransom since 2008. Roughly half, or $66 Million, was paid out in 2013.

The United States Treasury put the total at $165 million for the same period.

Since 2008, the following countries have paid Al Qaeda the following amounts (given in 2014 US dollars) for releasing kidnapped citizens:

  • France: $58.1 Million
  • Qatar and Oman: $20.4 Million
  • Switzerland: $12.4 Million
  • Spain: $11 Million
  • Austria: $3.2 Million
  • Undetermined Countries: $21.4 Million

Analysis conducted by the NY Times found that 15 percent of hostages that have been taken by Al Qaeda between 2008 and 2014 were executed or died in captivity.

Source: Rukmini Callimachi, “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror,” New York Times, July 29, 2014

According to statistics released by security agencies in Switzerland, there were 61 cases of human trafficking reported in the country in 2013. Most of the trafficking cases dealt with sexual exploitation.

The number of cases reported was lower than the 78 human trafficking cases reported in 2012. In 2012, statistics showed that people from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Thailand were the main countries of origins for human trafficking in Switzerland.

Prostitution is legal in Switzerland, with an estimated 20,000 prostitutes working in the trade. 14,000 prostitutes are properly registered with the government.

The legal sex trade in Switzerland generates an estimated $3.5 Billion (3.2 Billion Swiss Francs).

(Prostitution revenue by country.)

Source:  Clare O’Dea, “Concerns raised about trafficking in sex industry,” Swissinfo, May 21, 2014.

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported that over 120,000 counterfeit Swiss watches were seized during anti-counterfeiting campaigns in 2013. In a single raid on a warehouse in Dubai, authorities seized about 90,000 fake Swiss watches.

In addition to the counterfeit watches, nearly 700,000 components used to make counterfeit Swiss watches were also seized during 2013.

The counterfeit watch industry is estimated to generate up to $1 Billion in sales each year.

The legitimate Swiss Watch Industry had exports worth $23.9 Billion in 2012.

Source:  “Fake watches crackdown deemed a success,” swissinfo.ch, December 27, 2013.


Between 2009 and 2013, prosecutors in the United States brought cases against 68 US citizens, 3 Swiss banks, and 30 bankers, lawyers and tax advisers for tax evasion activities.

During that time period, the IRS conducted an amnesty program that allowed US citizens to declare their bank accounts in Switzerland in order to avoid prosecution. 38,000 Americans participated in the amnesty program that moved $5.5 Billion from Swiss bank accounts to the US.

(Additional tax evasion and laundering cases.)

Source:  David Voreacos, “Secret Swiss Accounts Said No Longer Safe for Tax Dodging,” Bloomberg Businessweek, September 8, 2013.

Prostitution is a legal, regulated industry in Switzerland. Sex workers who chose to work in the industry must pay a tax of $5.39 (5 Swiss Francs) for each night that they work as a prostitute.

There are 14,000 officially registered sex workers in Switzerland. According to union rules, the must charge at least $100 to a client.

Source:  Nick Squires, “Switzerland opens drive in ‘sex boxes’ to make prostitution safer,” Telegraph, August 16, 2013.

According to a report in Reuters, sources within the finance industry estimated that up to $10 Billion in untaxed US clients money is held by insurers in Switzerland as of July 2013.

Source:  “Swiss insurers brace for next U.S. crackdown on untaxed billions,” Reuters, July 4, 2013.

The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe reported in May 2013 that up to $50 Million worth of gold was being illegally smuggled out of Zimbabwe each month.

The gold is believed to be smuggled to South Africa where it is refined on its way to Switzerland. The cost to refine the gold in South Africa is cheaper than in Zimbabwe.

Source:  Kudzai Chimhangwa, “Zimbabwe losing millions to gold smuggling: MMCZ,” Standard, May 26, 2013.

Swiss banking officials filed 1,585 suspicious activity reports in 2012 to federal authorities. The suspicious transactions involved $3.3 Billion (3.15 Billion Swiss Francs). 6 of the cases involved almost half of the money that was flagged.

Between 2010 to 2012, the number of reports flagged by the Swiss banking industry increased by almost 50 percent when compared to previous years.

Since 2003, there have been 8,251 cases of suspicious financial transactions that have been forwarded to prosecutors. Out of this total, over 40 percent are still pending and over half were either dismissed or was suspended. 4.5 percent of the cases have reached conclusion with verdicts.

(Key details about money laundering worldwide.)

Source:  Associated Press, “Swiss: 1,500 money-laundering cases last year,” Bloomberg Businessweek, May 14, 2013.

Between 2009 and 2011, the Federal Statistics Office in Switzerland lodged 147 cases of human trafficking in the country.

Between 2000 and 2012, a total of 66 people have been convicted by prosecutors of human trafficking in Switzerland.

Most of the victims that end up in the Swiss criminal justice system are believed to have been trafficked from Eastern Europe, such as Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. In addition, people from Brazil, Thailand and other Asian countries trafficked people into Switzerland.

Source:  Maurício Thuswohl, “Brazilian sex traffickers target Switzerland,” Swiss Info, November 18, 2012.

The Justice Ministry of Brazil reported that it has found around 500 people who have been victims of human trafficking between 2005 and 2012.

Out of the total number of victims, 337 involved sexual exploitation.

The victims were trafficked out of Brazil and were operating in Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

(See human trafficking prices)

Criminal justice officials stated that over half of the human trafficking networks were managed by women who deceived the victims.

Source:  EFE, “Some 500 Brazilians have been victims of people trafficking since 2005,” Fox News Latino, October 16, 2012.