->''"If you can't trust a Swiss banker, then what's the world come to?"''
-->-- '''Film/JamesBond''', ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough''

No self-respecting big-money criminal would stash his loot in anything but a legendarily secretive Swiss bank account. In the hands of particularly lazy thriller writers, merely possessing a Swiss bank account is proof positive that a person is up to no good.

In real life, the usefulness of these numbered accounts is limited, due to how hard it is to get one nowadays... The Swiss, well aware of their banks' increasing reputation as havens for no-good-niks (not particularly helped by their willingness to stash NaziGold, though they were originally formed to help people ''hide'' money from the Gestapo), require numerous references and a general OK from the person's country of origin.

[[UsefulNotes To be noted]]: truly ''anonymous'' bank accounts are a thing of fiction. Even if protected by a code number, the identity of the client (and usually the source of the funds as well) is known by the chairman and high-ranking personnel of the bank, either in Switzerland or other tax havens. Money laundering and stashing of dubious funds are the province of [[CorruptCorporateExecutive professional accountants and economists]], who know [[HonestJohnsDealership how to give a decent face]] to the business they manage. Don't try to [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney just approach a bank]] with a BriefcaseFullOfMoney and no plausible story and expect it to work.[[note]]Many countries have laws that require the reporting of all deposits of certain amounts (in the US, it's $10,000) to the government anyway. (Think you'll get around this by making repeated deposits of $9,999? Better not; that's illegal too, anywhere where the reporting law is in effect.)[[/note]]

In more recent stories, an account in an offshore tax haven, such as the Cayman Islands, may be substituted.
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!!Examples

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''{{Golgo 13}}'': A SmugSnake villain figures out how to use the very existence of the assassin's Swiss bank accounts and the fantastic sum that must be in them to run an international scam.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the {{Tintin}} adventure ''Flight 714'', there is an amoral corporate executive who is abducted so the villain can obtain the details of his Swiss bank account.
* In ''{{Asterix}} in Switzerland'', Petitsuix opens a Helvetian bank account and stashes Asterix and Obelix in a safe to hide them from the Romans. They get hungry in the middle of the night and, since the safe wasn't meant to be opened from inside, Obelix simply kicks the door off its hinges. The bank's owner, Zurix, has the Gauls moved to someone else's safe. That someone else turns out to be the Roman centurion who comes searching for the Gauls, finds the broken safe and questions the bank's security.
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[[folder:Film]]
* In the film version of ''[[Film/TheBourneSeries The Bourne Identity]]'', the amnesiac hero starts out with no clue to his identity except the details of a Swiss bank account.
* ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe''. After the two scientists complete the submarine tracking system, Stromberg transfers $10 million into their Swiss bank accounts. [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness He then kills them]], and cancels the transfers.
* ''The Spanish Prisoner''.
-->'''Jimmy Dell:''' You now have a Swiss bank account if anybody asks. Credit Nationale Du Geneve, code name 'PADDY'. Lavish awkward gesture. All of fifteen Swiss Francs in it, but if you ever want to impress anybody, they can find out you have a Swiss account. But, Swiss law prohibits the bank from revealing the balance. Thus are all men made equal.
* There's one in ''[[TheQuestForKarla Smiley's People]]''.
* ''The Order''. The character Ben Nur has one.
* General M. Bison from the ''Film/StreetFighter'' movie has one, which he wants the $20,000,000,000 ransom wired to.
* ''FunWithDickAndJane'': The local bad guy has stashed all his plundered money in an account like this (it's never mentioned what country it belongs to).
* A group of mercenaries are being briefed in the comedy ''Film/{{Water 1985}}''
-->'''French agent:''' This is a dangerous mission, and some of you will die. But remember, in a world gone mad, you will die for a principle that you all hold close to your heart. Money!\\
'''Mercenaries:''' Viva franc! Viva deutschmark! Viva dollar! Viva numbered bank account in Switzerland!
* At the end of ''Film/FXMurderByIllusion'', Rollie and Leo use Rollie's special effects makeup expertise (and the stolen account information) to drain [=Nick DeFranco=]'s Swiss bank account of nearly ten million dollars before the Swiss bankers find out that Nick has been killed.
* In the film ''Samurai Cop'', the villian Fujiyama is accused of being a 'death merchant' who deposits his vast riches into a Swiss account
* Implied in ''Film/SherlockHolmesAGameOfShadows''. When Holmes and Moriarty have a discussion about Moriarty's assets, Moriarty claims that he's rather fond of Switzerland. They know how to respect a man's privacy there, especially when he has a large personal fortune.
* Where Sebastian Shaw keeps his [[NaziGold ill-gotten gains]] in ''Film/XMenFirstClass''.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In Creator/RobertLudlum's ''[[Literature/TheBourneSeries The Bourne Identity]]'', the amnesiac hero starts out with no clue to his identity except the details of a Swiss bank account. This doesn't ultimately turn out to be a sign that he was a villain, but he did have something to hide.
* Creator/RobertLudlum, again, plays with the lazy version of the trope in ''The Ostermann Weekend''. The protagonist discovers that a man who may be a foreign spy has a Swiss bank account, and considers this to be Evidence, but it turns out that the man is innocent, and his response to being accused of having a Swiss bank account is basically, "Yes, I do. What's your point?"
* ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' has several Swiss Bank Accounts, though probably not as many as when he was still (moderately) evil. A couple of villains (most noteably in ''The Infinity Code'') also had Swiss Bank Accounts, ripe for Artemis to dig his fingers into.
* ''Literature/JackRyan'':
** In ''Literature/RainbowSix'', Dmitri Popov sets up a Swiss Bank Account for the terrorists he's hired, as a secure way to transfer their payment to them. Once it becomes obvious that they're going to fail at the mission, he transfers all the money to an account he set up for himself.
** In ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger'', the mystique of this trope is bluntly deconstructed, not only because the Cartel having their drug accounts in Swiss banks does nothing to protect them from seizure once their illegality is discovered, but it's explicitly pointed out the only thing that makes the banks more secure is that fact the countries they reside in weren't invaded as much, giving the illusion of security.
* In ''Literature/TheDaVinciCode'', one of the clues to the Holy Grail is held in a Swiss bank.
* In the Creator/StephenKing short story "The Deathroom", the protagonist thinks that "in the end there might only be one way to tell the thugs from the patriots: when they saw their own death rising in your eyes like water, patriots made speeches. The thugs, on the other hand, gave you the number of their Swiss bank account and offered to put you on-line."
* People in the various JohnGrisham novels prefer accounts in the Grand Caymans to accounts in Switzerland. Even the good guys do their banking there.
* In ''TheDogsOfWar'' a CorruptCorporateExecutive is buying shares from an eccentric heiress and is cautioned by the Swiss banker not to put his bank's name on the cheque as little old ladies tend to think of Swiss banks accounts as fulfilling this trope.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The VillainProtagonist of ''Kessler'' had a Swiss bank account.
* In ''ThePretender'', episode "Collateral Damage", Jarod hacks into the villain of the week's Swiss bank account to confirm that he's been receiving payoffs from a drug cartel.
* ''BurnNotice''
** Episode "Friends and Enemies":
--->'''Michael Westen:''' Who do you work for?\\
'''Gregory Hart:''' I work for a 16-digit Swiss bank account number, and an anonymous email address.
** Michael's friend Barry specializes in setting those up and using them to launder money for criminals and spies.
** In one episode a government agent is trying to bully Michael so he has Barry set up an offshore account in the agent's name. They then move the same few thousand dollars in and out of the account repeatedly to make it seem like the agent is receiving payoffs through the account. Michael then blackmails the agent with this to have him back off.
* ''Series/MissionImpossible'': In "the Council" episode, the mobsters are using a swiss bank account.
* In ''HumanTarget'' Season 2 premiere Ilsa (a a good person) has a vault in a Swiss bank which can only be entered with retina scans of both Ilsa and her late husband; the bad guy uses her (in a hostage situation) and [[BorrowedBiometricBypass her dead husband's eyeball, removed from his body]] to get in to steal their billions. In another episode she transfers a couple mil from her Swiss bank to a local bank specifically in order to draw out some {{Dirty Cop}}s who were looking for her; in that same episode the main bad guy has an offshore bank account in Barbados where he stores his ill-gotten gains.
* An episode of ''MurphyBrown'' had a millionaire fall in love with Murphy and shower her with expensive gifts to try to get her to marry him, until he flat out tries to bribe her with a large check. She says no, the guy finally relents...and proposes to Kay, who immediately accepts. Murphy is horrified and calls Kay out on this...
-->'''Kay''': ''[softly to Murphy]'' Don't worry. I'll have this money in my Cayman Islands account before we're within ''miles'' of an altar.
** Because StatusQuoIsGod the guy divorces her and takes back the money. However Kay managed to keep BenStein as her man servant.
* The unsophisticated drug lord Marlo Stanfield from ''TheWire'' has to be introduced to this trope (Antillean off-shore version) and even then he decides to visit the bank in person to verify that his money is actually there.
* In a ''SaturdayNightLive'' sketch, SteveMartin lists his top wishes, including $30 million a month deposited directly into his Swiss bank account.
* ''Farscape'' give us Shadow Depositories that service the criminal scum of the uncharted territories, and are more heavily armed than top secret, maximum security military bases.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''{{Champions}}'' adventure ''Red Doom''. When Colonel Vasalov hires some supervillains to attack the heroes, he promises to pay each of them with $100,000 in a Swiss bank account.
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[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''{{Evita}}'', the corrupt government's lavish spending is explained in the song "And The Money Kept Rolling In (and Out)", which is all about Eva's charity work until the last verse:
-->If the money keeps rolling in what's a girl to do?\\
Cream a little off the top for expenses--wouldn't you?\\
But where on Earth can people hide their little piece of Heaven?\\
Thank God for Switzerland\\
Where a girl and a guy with a little petty cash between them\\
Can be sure when they deposit no-one's seen them\\
Oh what bliss to sign your checks as three-o-one-two-seven\\
Never been accounts in the name of Eva Peron!
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MegaMan 9'', the villainous Dr Wily is revealed to have a Swiss bank account with the account number 19-871-217 (a shout-out to the original game, released on 1987-12-17).
* ''Druglord'': The player-character's bank is supposed to be a Swiss bank.
* In the game ''VideoGame/{{Tropico}}'', one of the scoring metrics is how much money you can embezzle into your Swiss bank account. El Presidente can earn funds through the Building Permit edict (which increases all building costs by 20% to earn 10% of the cost), setting childhood museums to "Retirement Fund" mode, setting the customs office to "Customs Duty Evasion" (which requires paying customs officers $25 each to keep quiet), setting banks to "Slush Fund" mode (which only works while the treasury is positive), turning ruins into excavation sites, and building the mausoleum. Until the ''Modern Times'' expansion, there was no use for the Swiss account. In ''Modern Times'', a minimum Swiss bank balance is required to upgrade the palace to a presidency and set water treatment plants, sanatoria, and SWAT [=HQs=] to "Happy Powder," "Psych Ward," and "Personal Death Squad" modes.
* In ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'', Dr. Edison has a Swiss Bank account that's almost completely depleted. One of the more significant puzzles in the game requires you to get access to the account through trickery, then find a way to get a lot of money into it, so that you can use the money to buy a really big diamond.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one episode of ''GIJoeExtreme'', Rampage mentions he'll transfer the money he got from a deal to his Swiss bank account.
* The Cayman Islands version appears in ''TheSimpsons'', "Bart the Fink":
-->'''Cayman Islands guy:''' ''(on phone)'' I'm sorry, but I cannot divulge information about that customer's secret illegal account.\\
''(hangs up)''\\
Oh, crap. I shouldn't have said he was a customer.\\
Oh, crap. I shouldn't have said it was a secret.\\
Oh, crap! I certainly shouldn't have said it was illegal.\\
''(sighs)''\\
It's too hot today.
* ''BikerMiceFromMars'': Lord Cammembert hides money in the trope's Plutarkian counterpart.
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