Federal Council wishes to strengthen customs investigation

Bern, 21.11.2018 - The Federal Customs Administration (FCA) will be reorganised in the area of customs investigation. The fight against smuggling should be improved as a result. The Customs Investigation Sections of the individual district directorates of customs, as well as the Central Customs Investigation Section and the Criminal Matters and Appeals Division will be merged to form the Main Customs Investigation Division. During its meeting on 21 November 2018, the Federal Council adopted the corresponding ordinance amendments.

The FCA is the prosecuting authority and the authority passing judgment in the case of violations of the Customs Act and violations of 16 other federal laws. The prosecuting powers within the FCA are currently exercised by the four district directorates of customs and the Directorate General of Customs.

Strengthening the fight against smuggling with a new organisational unit

The decentralised organisational structure of customs investigation has to be reorganised in order to increase the punch in the fight against smuggling and financial fraud. Consequently, a new Main Customs Investigation Division will be created under the leadership of a Vice Director. The existing Customs Investigation Sections and the Criminal Matters and Appeals Division of the Directorate General of Customs will be integrated into this new main division. The customs investigation locations will remain in Basel, Zurich, Lausanne and Lugano. Urs Bartenschlager, former head of the criminal investigation department at the Solothurn cantonal police, will be in charge of Customs Investigation. He has been leading the reorganisation project since 1 July 2018.

Delegation for summary criminal proceedings

The main point of the proposal is the regulation of responsibilities for criminal prosecution within the FCA in the Customs Ordinance. The Ordinance on the Prosecuting Powers of the FCA can be repealed. Aside from Customs Investigation, the other FCA units will now be able to carry out summary criminal proceedings in the case of fines of up to CHF 2,000, provided the person concerned agrees. The new organisational structure of the FCA also requires formal adjustments to access to information systems in the migration and police sectors. The amendments to the ordinance will enter into force on 1 January 2019.

Address for enquiries

David Marquis, Media Office Head, Federal Customs Administration FCA
Tel. 058 462 67 43, medien@ezv.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance

Last modification 03.10.2018

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