Swiss banking sector in turmoil as Credit score Suisse continues to face woes

Credit score Suisse shares plunged Wednesday after already struggling heavy falls following the collapse of two US banks. AFP/File

ZURICH: Credit score Suisse shares went into free fall Wednesday, because the banking large battered by a collection of scandals, was seen because the “weakest hyperlink” within the Swiss banking sector. 

Right here is an outline of the woes stalking Switzerland’s second largest financial institution:

Greensill chapter

{The catalogue} of troubles started with the 2021 collapse of Greensill, a British monetary agency specialised in short-term company loans by way of a posh and opaque enterprise mannequin.

Greensill’s collapse threw quite a lot of firms into issue, however none greater than Credit score Suisse, which was significantly closely invested within the agency.

In March 2021, after Greensill declared insolvency, Credit score Suisse closed 4 related funds wherein round $10 billion had been invested.

Swiss monetary regulator Finma concluded that the financial institution “severely breached its supervisory obligations” within the case, and ordered “remedial measures.”


Simply 4 weeks after the Greensill collapse, Credit score Suisse was rocked by the implosion of US hedge fund Archegos, which value the financial institution greater than $5 billion.

Mozambique loans

In October 2021, the financial institution was fined $475 million by US and British authorities after it was caught up in a bribery scandal in Mozambique involving loans to state-owned firms.

The credit, granted between 2013 and 2016, had been presupposed to finance maritime surveillance, fishing and shipyard tasks, however had been partly diverted for bribes.

The financial institution agreed with the British authorities to cancel the $200 million owed by the nation, which was plunged right into a critical monetary disaster.

Covid rule breach

Former Lloyds Banking Group chief Antonio Horta-Osorio was introduced in as Credit score Suisse chairman in April 2021, pledging to place higher threat administration on the coronary heart of its tradition.

However lower than 9 months later, he resigned after it emerged he had violated Switzerland’s Covid quarantine guidelines.

‘Suisse secrets and techniques’

A media investigation revealed in February 2022, dubbed “Suisse Secrets and techniques”, alleges that the financial institution held billions of {dollars} in soiled cash for many years.

The probe, which was coordinated by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Challenge, mentioned leaked data on greater than 18,000 financial institution accounts courting again to the Forties confirmed Credit score Suisse held greater than $8 billion within the accounts of criminals, dictators and rights abusers.

The financial institution rejected the findings, saying they had been “based mostly on partial, inaccurate, or selective data taken out of context.”

Bermuda trial

On the finish of March 2022, a Bermuda choose dominated that former Georgian prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili suffered a lack of $553 million as a consequence of failures by Credit score Suisse Life Bermuda, a Credit score Suisse affiliate, to fulfil its fiduciary obligation.

The case stemmed from the actions of Patrice Lescaudron, a former star banker at Credit score Suisse who was sentenced by Swiss authorities to 5 years in jail in 2018 on prices of fraud and forgery. Lescaudron died by suicide in 2020.

The courtroom discovered that the Credit score Suisse affiliate didn’t stop the fraud as a result of “it was prioritising the revenues Mr Lescaudron generated for Credit score Suisse over the pursuits of its shoppers.”

Bulgarian cocaine community

In June 2022, Credit score Suisse was slapped with a $2 million superb in a cash laundering case linked to a Bulgarian cocaine community.

Switzerland’s Federal Legal Court docket discovered that the financial institution didn’t take steps to forestall cash laundering by the legal organisation, deeming it responsible of breaching its company accountability.

A former worker was discovered responsible of aggravated cash laundering over quite a lot of transactions she had carried out or ordered to be carried out between July 2007 and December 2008, regardless of agency indications that the funds had legal origins.

Her actions allowed the legal gang to stash greater than 19 million Swiss francs out of attain of the authorities.

Settling previous disputes

In October 2022, Credit score Suisse mentioned it will pay $495 million to settle a row with the US state of New Jersey over mortgage-backed securities courting again to the 2008 monetary disaster.

In France that very same month, it agreed to pay 238 million euros to keep away from prosecution on cash laundering and tax fraud prices introduced in 2016 over undeclared accounts held by French nationals.

‘Materials weaknesses’

Credit score Suisse was pressured to postpone its annual report, which had been scheduled to be revealed final week, after a last-minute name from the US Securities and Trade Fee over revisions made to cash-flow statements for 2019 and 2020.

When it lastly launched the report on Tuesday, it acknowledged “materials weaknesses” in its inner controls.”

Following fears of contagion from the collapse of two US banks final week, feedback from Credit score Suisse’s principal shareholder that it will not make investments extra money within the financial institution sparked market panic.

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