Credit Suisse logo in the window of the branch of Credit Suisse Group AG in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
Stephen Vermouth Bloomberg | Getty Images
Credit Suisse on Sunday tried to contain its effects last scandal after several newspapers reported that more than 18,000 account leaks revealed that the Swiss bank’s customers were criminals, alleged human rights violators and persons subject to sanctions, including dictators.
The leak, which covers accounts with more than $ 100 billion, came from an informant who shared his findings with a German newspaper. Süddeutsche Zeitung, said in a press release. The newspaper was then attended by Fr. anti-corruption group and 46 other media outlets around the world, including The New York Times, Guardian, Le Monde and others.
According to media reports, among the customers of the second largest Swiss bank were international unpleasant characters. Among the account holders were a Yemeni spy leader involved in torture, Venezuelan officials involved in a corruption scandal, and the sons of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The accounts were opened from the 1940s to the 2010s, according to Sunday’s release of the Draft Reports on Organized Crime and Corruption.
“I have too often seen criminals and corrupt politicians who can afford to continue to run their businesses normally, no matter what the circumstances, because they are confident that their ill-gotten gains will be saved,” said Paul Radu, co-founder of OCCRP. the statement said. “Our investigation reveals how these people can circumvent regulation despite their crimes, to the detriment of democracy and people around the world.”
While Swiss banks, world-renowned for their strict privacy laws that protect customers, should not accept money related to criminal activity, the law mostly outstandingreports The New York Times, citing the former head of the Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Agency.
Credit Suisse said in a Sunday statement of nearly 400 words that it “strongly rejects” the allegations against its business practices.
“The issues presented are predominantly historical in nature, in some cases dating back to the 1940s, and reports on these issues are based on partial, inaccurate or selective information taken out of context, leading to biased interpretations of the bank’s business,” the bank said.
About 90% of the accounts as a result of the leak were closed or were in the process of being closed before media investigations began, the bank said. It is “convenient” that the rest of the accounts have been checked properly. Credit Suisse added that it could not comment on individual customers and that it had already taken action “in a timely manner” to address improper customers.
For most of the last decade, the Zurich-based financial giant has moved from one crisis to another as it has come to terms with its role in helping clients launder illicit funds, evade tax assets and help fight corruption.
In 2014, the bank pleaded guilty to helping Americans file false tax returns and agreed to pay $ 2.6 billion in fines and restitution. Last year, she agreed to pay $ 475 million for participating in a bribery scheme in Mozambique.
Over the past two years, the firm has had to replace both its CEO and chairman, and it has fallen into the trap of the collapse of financial firm Greensill as well as the American hedge fund Archegos.
“The only reason for protecting financial privacy is a fig leaf that highlights the infamous role of Swiss banks as tax evaders,” a Credit Suisse spokesman was quoted as saying by OCCRP. “This situation allows for corruption and deprives developing countries of much-needed tax revenues.”
This story is evolving. Please check for updates.