March 22, 2017 / 5:12 PM / 5 months ago

Swiss banking watchdog checking on 'Laundromat' reports

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's financial watchdog is looking into a report that dozens of Swiss banks may have helped launder more than $600 million from Russia in a global scheme dubbed "Laundromat".

Swiss magazine Beobachter said that 45 Swiss banks may have been involved in the scheme.

A Reuters report this month shone light on a Moldovan probe into the alleged laundering scheme in which $22.3 billion passed through Moldova using Russian shell companies and fictitious loans from offshore companies based in Britain in 2011-2014.

"We are aware of the issue. In this regard we are in contact with some banks in the framework of our supervisory activity," a spokesman for the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said in response to an enquiry, giving no more details.

Britain said on Tuesday that its authorities would investigate newspaper allegations that UK-based banks had been used in the scheme.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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