foreign banks

Credit Suisse faces proceedings over spying scandal

Agence France-Presse

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The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority opens proceedings against Credit Suisse

Swiss financial regulators said on Wednesday, September 2, they had launched proceedings against Credit Suisse following a probe into a spying scandal that rocked the country’s second biggest bank.

The scandal began to unravel last September with the discovery that surveillance had been ordered on a star banker who jumped ship from Credit Suisse to rival UBS, amid fears that he was preparing to poach employees and clients.

“FINMA has opened enforcement proceedings against the bank,” the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority said in a statement.

“It will pursue indications of violations of supervisory law in the context of the bank’s observation and security activities, and in particular the question of how these activities were documented and controlled.”

The proceedings are expected to take several months.

In December, FINMA said it had appointed an auditor to investigate Credit Suisse’s corporate governance in relation to the spying scandal. The probe is now complete, the regulator said.

The case began following revelations in Swiss newspapers that Iqbal Khan, a former wealth management chief, had been tailed by private investigators after he unexpectedly left for UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank.

At the beginning of October, former chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee resigned, explaining that he “alone” had ordered the surveillance, without notifying his superiors, in an attempt to protect Credit Suisse’s interests.

Bouee wanted to make sure Khan was not seeking to take other employees with him, according to an internal investigation launched by the bank.

But the scandal bounced back when subsequent press revelations accused Credit Suisse of spying on another employee, and then claimed that the bank had also monitored members of the environmental campaign group Greenpeace.

The bank’s chief executive Tidjane Thiam, while insisting that he had not been personally involved, resigned in a bid to put an end to the scandal.

In a brief statement, Credit Suisse said it would continue to cooperate fully with FINMA and learn from the episode.

“The observation of employees is not part of the culture of Credit Suisse,” the bank said. –

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