Prof. Dr. h.c. Paolo Bernasconi


Education and professional experience

1962 - 1966
Law studies and bachelor at the Universities of Bern and Fribourg

1966 - 1968
Attorney-at-law and notary trainee

Admission to the Ticino Bar and as a Notary Public

1969 - 1985
State Attorney of the South District of Switzerland (Lugano and Chiasso)

1982, 1995, 1999, 1996, 2001
Consultant to the Council of Europe, Strasbourg (1982, 1995, 1999), to the OECD in Paris (1996) and to the EU  in Bruxelles (2001)

Lecturer on Penal Business Law at the University of St. Gallen (professor since 1999)

Lecturer on Penal Business Law at the University of Zurich

As from 1986
Attorney-at-law and Notary Public with the Law Firm Bernasconi Martinelli Alippi & Partners (formerly Peter, Bernasconi & Partners, formerly Sganzini Bernasconi Peter & Gaggini) in Lugano (Switzerland).

Appointed as a special investigator or as a permanent judicial expert or as a scientific counsel by several international organisations and governments, by the Swiss Federal Ministry of Treasure and by several Swiss cantonal authorities.           

Member of Federal Consulting Committees for the revision of the Swiss Penal Code concerning the Anti-Money Laundering penal rules

Guest Professor on International Tax Law at the University of Genova (Italy)

As from 1996 
Guest Professor on International Tax Law at the University of Bocconi/Milan (Italy)

As from 1990
Professor invited at the Centro Studi Villa Negroni in Lugano-Vezia (formerly Centro Studi Bancari), as from 2012 as responsible person for Area "Law"

1990, 1992
Consultant to the Division of the United Nations Branch on Crime Prevention and Control, Vienna

As from 1991
Member of Federal Consulting Committees for the Anti-Money Laundering penal rules as well as for the Guidelines on Money Laundering of the Swiss Banking Supervisory Authority, for the Federal Law on Stock Exchange, for the Federal Law on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters

Lecturer for the Master of Business Law (MBL) Program at the Universities of Zurich (1997 - 2008) and Geneva (1999 - 2005)

As from 1996
Guest Professor on International Tax Law at the University of Bocconi/Milan (Italy)           

Professor invited at  the Executive Master in Tax Law of the Professional High School of Svizzera Italiana (SUPSI), Lugano, for conventions and as co-referee for the presentation of the diploma thesis

Vice-President of the Permanent Advisory Council of the Swiss Federal Authority against Money Laundering

Appointed as an expert ad personam within the Steering Committee of the European Conference on the Fight against Financial Crime

Professor on Penal Business Law at the Insubria University of Como (Italy)

As from 2006
Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Swiss Association of Asset Managers (SAAM), Zurich

July 2008 - June 2013
Appointed by the Swiss Bankers Association as Member of the Supervisory board concerning the Agreement on the Swiss banks’ code of conduct with regard to the exercise of due diligence (CDB 08)

As from 2010
Member of the WEF Global Agenda Councils

April 2013
Doctor honoris causa degree conferred by the University of Zurich for his long-time fight against the economic crime, in particular against money laundering, as well as for his scientific contribution to the development of the business crime law (Doctor honoris causa degree)

Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the not for profit Association "Ethics and Compliance Switzerland (ECS)", with seat in Berne (

As from June 2014
Full Member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Limited /STEP  

As from 2017
Honorary Member of the Swiss Experts in Economic Crime Investigation (SEECI/ASECE/SEBWK)

Practice Areas

Directors and Officers Liability; Bankruptcy; Insolvency; Non-Profit Organisations; International Private Law; Professional Liability; Torts; Banking Law; Finance; Business Law; Commercial Law; Competition; Contracts; International Mutual Assistance in Fiscal, Criminal, Civil and Prudential Matters; Compliance and Risk Management; Due Diligence Countering Corruption and Money Laundering; Assets Tracing.


Former Co-editor of: Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Strafrecht, Zurich (Switzerland), Rivista trimestrale di diritto penale dell’Economia, Padova (Italy), Forum Poenale, Zurich (Switzerland).

Member of the Board of:
Swiss Association for International and European Penal Law, Zurich (Switzerland); Seminary on Banking Law, Centre for Banking Studies of the Ticino Bankers Association, Lugano (Switzerland); Transparency International, Berlin (Advisory Board); Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Aussenpolitik/SGA/ASPE, Lenzburg (Switzerland); Science et Cité Foundation, Bern (Switzerland); International Society of Social Defence, Paris; Institute of International Humanitarian Law, San Remo (Italy); Southern California Institute of Architecture (Europe) Foundation, Vico Morcote/TI (Switzerland); several international and Swiss humanitarian Non Profit Organisations.

1986 - 2013  Member of the Directory Board of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva; as from 2014 designated as honorary member.

Founder and Secretary of the Board of the following philanthropic foundations, all based in Lugano: Fondazione Azione Posti Liberi; Fondazione Diritti Umani; Fondazione Amici del Villaggio della Musica Sobrio; Fondazione Centro di Competenze non profit CENPRO; Fondazione FAI SWISS; Fondazione Mantello Filantropia; Fondazione Diritti Umani, based in Milan and Member of the Board of the auxiliary Foundation of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL), Sanremo.



Date of birth


Mother tongue

German - French - English