Credit Suisse has been knocked off its lofty perch by a string of scandals. © Keystone / Michael Buholzer
Swiss bank Credit Suisse has been fined CHF2 million ($2 million) for allowing cocaine dealers to launder money through its vaults. The verdict marks the first time a home-grown major Swiss bank has been convicted of such offences in the criminal courts in Switzerland.
This content was published on June 27, 2022 - 16:37 June 27, 2022 - 16:37 swissinfo.ch/mga
The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, in southern Switzerland, also found a former Credit Suisse employee guilty of allowing the Bulgarian drug trafficking gang to launder the proceeds of crime.
Judges ruled that the actions of the employee had contributed to the criminal organisation being able to withdraw more than CHF19 million from Switzerland.
But more attention is being focused on the bank itself, which was found guilty of criminal laxity in monitoring its employees and enforcing anti-money laundering measures between July 2007 and December 2008.
The bank had denied the charges and said on Monday that it intends to appeal the verdictExternal link .
Anti-corruption NGO Public Eye said the case revealed weaknesses both at the bank and Switzerland's legal system.
'If Switzerland does not want its financial centre to remain a haven for economic crime, it must strengthen surveillance systems and introduce deterrent penalties,' the NGO stated.
In 2021, the Abu Dhabi-owned Falcon Private Bank, which was based in Zurich, was fined CHF3.5 millionExternal link for failing to set up the necessary controls to prevent money laundering.
While Credit Suisse was handed a more lenient fine, it has attracted more scrutiny as one of Switzerland's biggest banks with a larger global reach.
Prosecutors had demanded a CHF5 million fineExternal link after detailing lapses at the bank which allegedly allowed the drug ring to wash tens of millions of francs through Credit Suisse, including large sums of cash in suitcases, between 2004 and 2008.
If the bank fails in its appeal, it also faces having to pay further millions in compensation and giving up illicitly earned profits.
The court verdict is the latest in a long string of catastrophes at Switzerland's second largest bank, which have included huge trading losses, damaging legal cases, reprimands from the financial regulator and hefty fines in various countries for a range of offences.
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