Swiss court seeks €40 million in Credit Suisse laundering case
Swiss federal prosecutors are seeking more than 42 million francs (€40 million) in compensation from Credit Suisse Group AG, stemming from a 14-year investigation into the lender’s alleged failure to prevent money laundering by a Bulgarian drug ring.
Switzerland’s federal criminal court unveiled the charges in a 500-page document that alleged the bank suffered from “serious organisational shortcomings” in preventing money laundering, according to a report published Sunday by SonntagsZeitung.
The Swiss federal prosecutor alleged that the Bulgarian drug mafia, led by a former wrestler, deposited some 55 million francs at Credit Suisse -- much of it hand-delivered in suitcases filled with unbundled notes, according to the report. The federal prosecutor also targeted a former Credit Suisse employee for her role in the affair.
The bank said it “unreservedly rejects as meritless all allegations in this legacy matter raised against it and is convinced that its former employee is innocent,” according to an emailed statement. “The bank will defend itself vigorously in court.”
The development marks the latest blow for the embattled bank, which recently announced it would set aside an additional 500 million francs for litigation this year.
The bank is still reeling from steep losses related to the collapse of Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital. Its nascent reboot was stymied after former chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio was ousted after nine months on the job.
This is only the second time the Swiss federal prosecutor has ever taken a bank to court, following the Falcon bank probe into money laundering tied to the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
In addition to the federal prosecutor’s compensation claim, Credit Suisse faces a maximum penalty of 5 million francs. The case begins next week and is scheduled to last for a total of 20 days, according to the report.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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