Credit Suisse indicted
Credit Suisse Group has been indicted over its alleged failure to prevent money laundering.
The Zurich-based bank and one of its former bank managers reportedly failed to take the “reasonable and required” organisational measures to guard against the laundering of drug money, which was used to buy real estate in Switzerland and Bulgaria.
The Office of the Swiss Attorney General can target banks if they do not do enough to screen clients for obvious ties to illicit activity.
The current case dates back to 2008, when prosecutors began investigating a Bulgarian wrestler who had allegedly turned to drug trafficking.
The investigation expanded over the course of several years to include associates of the Bulgarian, a former employee of the bank, a one-time Credit Suisse executive and the bank itself.
A person connected to the wrestler was convicted of aggravated money laundering in 2017.
There are now charges against Credit Suisse and one of its former managers.
The former bank manager was indicted over her management of business relations with the Bulgarian criminals, helping the drug ring launder 16 million francs using a “back-to-back” credit structure.
She is accused of helping obscure the illicit origins of transactions worth more than 140 million Swiss francs.
Credit Suisse has issued a statement describing its “astonishment” that charges have only just been brought in an investigation that has run for more than 12 years.
The bank rejects the allegations about its alleged organisational deficiencies and says it will defend itself “vigorously”.
Credit Suisse “had been aware of these deficiencies from at least 2004,” the prosecutors said.
“The fact that the bank let it continue until 2008, or even beyond, impeded or frustrated the detection of the money laundering activities.”