A massive leak divulged more than 18,000 accounts from Credit Suisse with alleged ties to criminal activities. The Swiss bank is now dealing with its newest scandal. This one alleges that some of its clients holding more than $100 billion include deals with shady or outright illegal activities.
Whistleblower Shared Credit Suisse Data With German Media
According to reports, a whistleblower leaked Credit Suisse client data. This covered accounts with assets totaling more than $100 billion. The unidentified person shared the information with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. This German newspaper is a member of an anti-corruption consortium of media outlets. The group also includes prominent outlets such as The New York Times, Guardian, Le Monde, and others.
The data showed that Credit Suisse continues to service clients with unsavory or dubious backgrounds. The list includes a Yemeni spy chief implicated in torture and Venezuelan officials involved in a corruption scandal. In addition, the second-largest bank also plays host to children of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Credit Suisse opened these accounts between 1940 to 2010.
Banks Like Credit Suisse Kept Hidden Wealth Safe
Pail Radu, the co-founder of the OCCRP, issued a statement on the data leak. He said that he bears witness to criminals and corrupt politicians who keep doing business as usual. That’s because “they have the certainty that their ill-gotten gains will be kept safe.” Radu added that “our investigation exposes how these people can bypass regulation despite their crimes.”
Swiss banks are notorious for enforcing their country’s strict secrecy laws protecting clients. While laws prevent these institutions from accepting money from criminal activity, these rules often stay ignored. This is according to a former head of Switzerland’s anti-money laundering agency.
Credit Suisse Strongly Rejects Allegations
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse issued a statement on Sunday strongly rejecting the allegations about its business practices. The bank said that the information leaked is predominantly historical, with some dating back to the 1940s. It also said that some accounts had partial, inaccurate, or selective information taken out of context. This resulted in a negative interpretation of the bank’s conduct.
Credit Suisse also insisted that around 90% of the accounts in the leak were either closed or about to close. It also said that on the remaining 10%, the bank is comfortable that it vetted them properly. However, the bank will not comment on individual clients as it already took action at the relevant times to address problems.
Latest In A Series of Scandals For Credit Suisse
Despite the denials, Credit Suisse became notorious at some point for its role in harboring possibly illicit funds. Its name came up in many high-profile cases, where the bank eventually had to settle. In 2014, the bank pleaded guilty to helping some Americans file false tax returns. For their role in the deception, the bank agreed to pay $2.6 billion in fines and penalties. Last year, Credit Suisse agreed to pay $475 million for its role in a bribery case in Mozambique.
In the past two years, Credit Suisse had to fire its CEO and chairman due to large-scale collapses of its clients. This includes troubled finance firm Greensill and US hedge fund Archegos. According to the anonymous whistleblower, Credit Suisse and other banks are complicit. “The pretext of protecting financial privacy is merely a fig leaf covering the shameful role of Swiss banks as collaborators of tax evaders,” the leaker said.
Watch the IPO Market Watch video reporting that It Served Criminals, Spies & Strongmen, New Leak Exposes Credit Suisse
What do you think of Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks with very strict secrecy laws? Do you think that many shady characters take advantage of this to bank with them?
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