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Fighting illegal financial activities

Cooperating in the global fight against abuse of the financial system for illegal activities.

Swift is solely a carrier of messages between financial institutions. The information in these messages is issued and controlled exclusively by the sending and receiving institutions. Swift does not hold assets nor manage accounts on behalf of customers. It does not clear or settle transactions.

Given its importance in the financial community, Swift cooperates in good faith with authorities in the fight against illegal activities.

1. Responsibilities

It is Swift policy that its services should not be used to facilitate illegal activities. Users are urged to take all reasonable steps to prevent any misuse of the Swift system.

2. Cooperation

Swift has a history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF*), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities. The conditions under which Swift complies with requests from authorities to produce data and informs its customers are set forth in the Swift Data Retrieval Policy.

3. No comment policy

Due to the confidential nature of the contacts with authorities and due to non-disclosure or other legal requirements, Swift does not comment on them.

The challenge facing the financial industry is to implement measures that prevent illegal behaviour without penalising the efficient processing of legitimate financial transactions. Swift is fully committed to doing its part to address this challenge and remains committed to its policy of cooperation to fight illegal activities within the scope of its activity.


* The FATF is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” created in 1989 that works to generate the necessary political will to bring about legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
For more information, see the FATF website.