ZURICH: 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 held in one of Switzerland’s best-known financial institutions.
The data reveals Credit Suisse accounts held by several more intelligence and military figures and their family members, including in Pakistan, Jordan, Yemen and Iraq.
Credit Suisse accounts linked to almost two dozen business people, officials and politicians implicated in corrupt schemes in Venezuela.
Massive leak reveals 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, as well as corrupt politicians from Egypt to Ukraine.
- Scandal-hit Credit Suisse rejects allegations it may be ‘rogue bank’
- Massive leak reveals secret owners of £80bn held in Swiss bank
- Vatican-owned account used to spend €350m in allegedly fraudulent investment
- Whistleblower leaked bank’s data to expose ‘immoral’ secrecy laws
Credit Suisse said that Switzerland’s strict banking secrecy laws prevented it from commenting on claims relating to individual clients. Credit Suisse strongly rejects the allegations and inferences about the bank’s purported business practices, the bank said in a statement, arguing that the matters uncovered by reporters are based on “selective information taken out of context, resulting in tendentious interpretations of the bank’s business conduct”.
The bank also said the allegations were largely historical, in some instances dating back to a time when “laws, practices and expectations of financial institutions were very different from where they are now”.
2017 leaked report commissioned by Switzerland’s financial regulator shed some light on the bank’s internal procedures at that time. Clients would face intensified scrutiny when flagged as a politically exposed person from a high-risk country, or a person involved in a high-risk activity such as gambling, weapons trading, financial services or mining, the report said.
While Credit Suisse said in its statement it could not comment on any specific clients, the bank said “actions have been taken in line with applicable policies and regulatory requirements at the relevant times, and that related issues have already been addressed”. The bank said its “preliminary review” of the accounts flagged by the Suisse secrets reporting project had established that more than 90% of those reviewed were now closed or “were in the process of closure prior to receipt of the press inquiries”. Of the remaining accounts, which remain active, the bank said it was “comfortable that appropriate due diligence, reviews and other control-related steps were taken, including pending account closures”.
The debate over whether Switzerland’s banking industry has undergone sufficient reforms is likely to be renewed in light of the leak.
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