Credit Suisse, one of the world’s largest private banks, has revealed the hidden wealth of clients implicated in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and other major crimes as a result of a massive leak.
The leak contains information on accounts belonging to 30,000 Credit Suisse clients around the world, revealing the owners of more than 100 billion Swiss francs (£80 billion)* stored at one of Switzerland’s most well-known financial institutions.
The revelation reveals significant failures in Credit Suisse’s due diligence, despite repeated commitments over decades to screen out suspect clients and criminal cash.
We can show how Credit Suisse frequently opened or maintained bank accounts for a diverse range of high-risk clients all across the world.
A human trafficker in the Philippines, a Hong Kong stock market chairman imprisoned for bribes, a billionaire who ordered the death of his Lebanese pop star lover, executives who robbed Venezuela’s state oil business, and corrupt politicians from Egypt to Ukraine are among them.
One Vatican-owned account in the data was used to spend €350 million (£290 million) on an allegedly fraudulent investment in London property, which is the subject of a criminal trial involving multiple defendants, including a cardinal.
An unknown whistleblower revealed the massive quantity of banking data to the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung. “I feel Swiss financial confidentiality regulations are immoral,” stated the whistleblower source in a statement. “The guise of safeguarding financial privacy is essentially a fig leaf for Swiss banks’ reprehensible position as partners with tax evaders.”
Credit Suisse stated that it was unable to comment on individual client accusations due to Switzerland’s strong banking secrecy regulations.
“Credit Suisse strongly rejects the allegations and inferences about the bank’s purported business practices,” the bank said in a statement, claiming that the revelations are based on “selective information taken out of context, resulting in tendentious interpretations of the bank’s business conduct.”
The charges, according to the bank, were mostly historical, reaching back to a time when “rules, procedures, and expectations of financial institutions were significantly different from where they are now.”
While some of the accounts in the data date back to the 1940s, more than two-thirds were opened since 2000. Many of them remained open long into the previous decade, and some are still open today.