It’s tricky publications of customer lists that the major Swiss bank Credit Suisse in need of explanation. Among other things, the bank is said to have offered despots and suspected criminals a safe haven for decades under the guise of banking secrecy. In addition, came within the revelations as well new findings in the Siemens bribe scandal to the light. Credit Suisse has so far rejected all allegations and assured that it intends to take further steps.
The allegations are based on To report which on Sunday evening by a research association to the Southgerman newspaper the New York Times as well as the British newspaper Guardians were published. The reports, entitled “Suisse Secrets”, are said to be about cases going back to the 1940s. According to the latest evaluations, the papers should provide information about more than 30,000 customers from all over the world. One of them is Abdullah II, King of Jordan, who has been repeatedly accused of corruption. In addition, the names of some family members of the former Kazakh presidential family Nazarbayev are said to appear. The customers are also said to have included numerous heads of state and government, but also heads of the secret service and a number of oligarchs. There is also talk of dealings with so-called politically exposed persons (PEP), such as several managers of the Venezuelan oil company PDSVA. The report relies on a whistleblower who provided the research team with the information anonymously.
Credit Suisse has so far rejected all allegations. A press release states:
Credit Suisse firmly rejects the allegations about alleged business practices by the bank. The issues raised are mostly historical in nature, in some cases going back to the 1940s. Reporting is based on incomplete, erroneous or selective information taken out of context to portray the Bank in a biased manner.
The bank has been under closer scrutiny by the Swiss financial regulator since 2018 Finma. The allegations: misconduct in the area of money laundering and dealings with shady people. According to statements by the supervisory authority, this breached supervisory obligations to combat money laundering in several cases. These included dealings with PDSVA and with the FIFA and the oil company Petrobas. As a result, the supervisor of the big bank promptly provided a supervisor.
Credit Suisse was in the public eye only last year when German lender Greensill threatened to go bankrupt. The Swiss launched funds together with Greensill and then tried to pass on the resulting losses to investors.
Research by NDR, WDR and SZ had brought further details into the darkness of the Siemens bribe scandal. In the spring of 2007, investigators stormed the offices of Siemens’ Munich headquarters and secured a number of pieces of evidence that bribes had been paid. Since the latest revelations, the focus has been on the former Siemens manager Eduard Seidel. He received a penalty order in 2008 and was subsequently sentenced to one year’s imprisonment on probation and a fine of 240,000 euros. The allegations: Bribery of Nigerian officials in 22 counts. Evaluations by the research team have now shown that Seidel is said to have had accounts with the Swiss bank at the time. Siemens has so far denied for knowing about Seidel’s accounts with Credit Suisse.
The latest revelations also bring a long-standing discussion about Swiss banking secrecy back into the public eye. The anonymous whistleblower was also extremely upset and commented as follows:
I believe Swiss banking secrecy is immoral. The pretense of protecting financial privacy is just a fig leaf to cover up the nefarious role of Swiss banks as collaborators with tax evaders. (…) This situation enables corruption and deprives developing countries of much-needed tax revenues.
Source: “Suisse Secrets”
The scandal is considered one of the largest and most extensive in recent banking history and could spread further. After all, the data set contains information on accounts worth around 100 billion US dollars.