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Swiss Bank Accounts - Who has to bear the Damage resulting from Fraudulent Transactions of Hackers?

Posted by on 21 November 2017

Who is liable for the damage if a hacker succeeds in initiating fraudulent transactions on a Swiss bank account?

According to a judgement of the Swiss Federal Court, it was the bank which ultimately had to bear the loss (Swiss Federal Court, decision of 5 December 2016, 4A_386/2016). However, do not be too sure that this will always be the case. In comparable cases, it could also be that the bank customer is left bearing the damage caused by an unauthorised person.


In order to familiarise you with the legal situation regarding Swiss bank accounts, we would like to present the facts and findings of the Federal Court's decision in detail. This also helps you - as a client of a Swiss bank - to understand why it is always advisable to read the Bank's General Terms and Conditions carefully and to comply with them.

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If you liked this article, you may also be interested in reading about:
Brexit - what changes for nationals of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Switzerland?, written by Oliver Arter and Daisy Vacher

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Photo: Shutterstock/Elnur

Topics: Private Clients | Banking & Finance | Litigation

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Oliver Arter

Oliver Arter’s practice focuses on private clients and their advisers (banks, family offices, foreign advisers) in all aspects of domestic and international wealth planning. He also specialises in banking, asset management and regulatory matters. Oliver became of counsel in June 2009. His work involves representing and advising private clients on the structuring of assets (trusts, foundations, international business corporations), domestic and international estate planning, division of estates, execution of wills, matrimonial property rights, advance care directives and living wills, taking up residence and taxation. In addition he advises Swiss and international banks, asset managers, investment advisers and family offices on regulatory and contractual matters and represents them in proceedings. He publishes extensively in all his fields of practice. Oliver is an academic consultant with the Institute for Legal Theory and Legal Practice at the University of St Gallen, and is frequently invited to give lectures and chair conferences. Oliver Arter graduated with a law degree from the University of St Gallen in 1996 and was admitted to the Zurich Bar in 2000. His working languages are German, English and French. He is a member of the Zurich Bar Association, the Swiss Bar Association, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the International Tax Planning Association (ITPA) and the Banking Law Association (“Bankenrechtliche Vereinigung e.V.”). Chambers Global, Chambers Europe, Chambers High Net Worth and Legal500 have ranked him for many years in a row as a leader in the field of private client.

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Daisy Vacher

Daisy Vacher's work focuses on matters of Swiss immigration and the procurement of work permits for companies wanting to employ foreign nationals in Switzerland. Before joining Froriep as an attorney, Daisy Vacher spent three years working for Fragomen Global Immigration Services in Zurich. Before that she was an associate attorney with Izaguirre Law in Colorado Springs, USA. In 2006 she completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Arizona followed by her Juris Doctor degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver in 2011. Later that same year she was admitted to the Colorado Bar. She is a native English speaker and has a good command of German, Spanish, French and Italian.

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