So, Is It a Bad Banker, a Bad Bank, or a Bad Banking System?
Yet another series of leaks have revealed that Credit Suisse is hip deep in corruption and money laundering.
I gotta figure that this is a feature, not a bug, and also that the Swiss bankers are more likely to have an attack of conscience than British ones, because London is the money laundering center for the world:
A massive leak from one of the world’s biggest private banks, Credit Suisse, has exposed the hidden wealth of clients involved in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes.
Details of accounts linked to 30,000 Credit Suisse clients all over the world are contained in the leak, which unmasks the beneficiaries of more than 100bn Swiss francs (£80bn)* held in one of Switzerland’s best-known financial institutions.
The leak points to widespread failures of due diligence by Credit Suisse, despite repeated pledges over decades to weed out dubious clients and illicit funds. The Guardian is part of a consortium of media outlets given exclusive access to the data.
We can reveal how Credit Suisse repeatedly either opened or maintained bank accounts for a panoramic array of high-risk clients across the world.
They include a human trafficker in the Philippines, a Hong Kong stock exchange boss jailed for bribery, a billionaire who ordered the murder of his Lebanese pop star girlfriend and executives who looted Venezuela’s state oil company, as well as corrupt politicians from Egypt to Ukraine.
One Vatican-owned account in the data was used to spend €350m (£290m) in an allegedly fraudulent investment in London property that is at the centre of an ongoing criminal trial of several defendants, including a cardinal.
The huge trove of banking data was leaked by an anonymous whistleblower to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. “I believe that Swiss banking secrecy laws are immoral,” the whistleblower source said in a statement. “The pretext of protecting financial privacy is merely a fig leaf covering the shameful role of Swiss banks as collaborators of tax evaders.”
This month, Credit Suisse became the first major Swiss bank in the country’s history to face criminal charges — which it denies — relating to allegation it helped launder money from the cocaine trade on behalf of the Bulgarian mafia.
However, the repercussions of the leak could be much broader than one bank, threatening a crisis for Switzerland, which retains one of the world’s most secretive banking laws. Swiss financial institutions manage about 7.9tn CHF (£6.3tn) in assets, nearly half of which belongs to foreign clients.
The Suisse secrets project sheds a rare light on one of the world’s largest financial centres, which has grown used to operating in the shadows. It identifies the convicts and money launderers who were able to open bank accounts, or keep them open for years after their crimes emerged. And it reveals how Switzerland’s famed banking secrecy laws helped facilitate the looting of countries in the developing world.
There have been proposals in the European Parliament to list Switzerland as a center for money laundering, which would likely have a devastating effect on its banking sector if passed, but it won’t be.
There are always calls for reforms when things like this happens, just never any actual reform.