Zurich, Switzerland – On Wednesday, Finma, Switzerland’s financial market supervisory authority and regulator, officially initiated enforcement proceedings against Credit Suisse Bank for allegedly spying on its employees.
Vinzenz Mathys, Finma’s media spokesperson, directed the Current Affairs Times to a press release in which Finma confirmed the appointment of an independent auditor assigned to investigate employee allegations against the bank earlier this year. Finma confirmed that this audit has been completed resulting in enforcement proceedings against Credit Suisse.
Finma will pursue any violations of supervisory law in the bank’s observation and security activities. The governmental agency elaborated on how Credit Suisse’s activities will be documented and controlled moving forward.
Sebastian Kistner, Credit Suisse spokesperson, told this publication that the bank has always unequivocally affirmed that employee surveillance is not a part of Credit Suisse’s culture. He further directed our publication to a press release where Credit Suisse confirms that it will fully cooperate with Finma and incorporate any directives.
As a regulatory body, Finma can disapprove of the policies of a firm under its supervision. Finma can impose a ban on executives and take any other compliance measures. However, since the agency has no enforcement power, Finma can only refer cases to the Federal Department of Justice and Police, Switzerland’s justice department.
Finma’s enforcement proceedings are the result of a spying scandal where Credit Suisse’s former international wealth management CEO, Iqbal Khan, alleged that an investigator was following him in Zurich. Mr. Khan had already submitted his resignation and he was scheduled to join Credit Suisse’s rival bank, UBS, the following month.
Alec Zimmerman, the media spokesperson for Global Wealth Management at UBS Bank, told the Current Affairs Times that UBS cannot comment on these enforcement proceedings as they are not directly related to the bank. However, Zimmerman confirmed that these proceedings relate to Credit Suisse’s internal process, governance, and documentation, and are not in any way related to Mr. Iqbal Khan, now working for UBS.
A local Swiss newspaper, also published photos of Credit Suisse’s head of Human Resources, Peter Goerke, while allegedly following and observing Khan.
Credit Suisse’s lawyers found that this surveillance was ordered by the bank’s former COO, Tidjane Thiam, to protect the bank’s interests. Although Mr. Thiam immediately resigned, his reputation remains intact despite the alleged spying. Credit Suisse’s lawyers admitted that they never found any evidence they could use against Khan.
Credit Suisse’s lawyers also noted that suspicious messages between certain individuals at the bank were deleted. Given the investigation and findings about Credit Suisse’s surveillance of employees, should banks be penalized when caught?
Image Credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
- The Current Affairs Times communicated with the Media Spokesperson of Credit Suisse Bank.
- The Current Affairs Times communicated with the Media Spokesperson of Finma.
- The Current Affairs Times has communicated with The Media Spokesperson, of the Global Wealth Management Unit, UBS Bank.
- “Credit Suisse Faces Enforcement Proceedings Over Spying Scandal”