Evidence of further surveillance at Credit Suisse mounts up

Evidence of further surveillance at Credit Suisse mounts up


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen in Zurich

ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse (S:) may have spied on more employees under its former chief executive Tidjane Thiam, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on Sunday, citing evidence of two further instances that had previously been undisclosed.

Switzerland’s market watchdog, FINMA, opened an enforcement case on Wednesday over the spying scandal to examine the bank’s culture and governance and whether management control failures allowed snooping on former executive board members.

Revelations of corporate espionage had rocked the discreet world of Swiss banking last year when it emerged that Credit Suisse had been spying on former wealth management boss Iqbal Khan, who was leaving for rival UBS (S:), and former human resources head Peter Goerke.

The bank had hoped that the departure of Thiam over the scandal and his replacement with Thomas Gottstein, a Credit Suisse veteran, would draw a line under the affair.

SonntagsZeitung, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter, said that two further instances had come to light.

One was connected with an employee in Asia, who had made threats against other bank employees; and one was connected with a former high-level manager and an employee with whom the manager may have had intimate relations in the United States, SonntagsZeitung reported.

The paper cited one source as saying neither the bank’s executive committee nor board of directors had been aware of the two instances.

A Credit Suisse spokesman declined to comment on the SonntagsZeitung report, referring to the bank’s statement from Wednesday which said it was cooperating with FINMA and seeking to “incorporate lessons learned”. It reiterated that spying was not part of its culture.

FINMA declined to comment on ongoing proceedings, referring to its statement from Wednesday, in which it said it will pursue indications of violations of supervisory law and, in particular, the question of how these activities were documented and controlled.

Gottstein, who stepped in after Thiam left his role at the head of Switzerland’s second-biggest bank in February, had said FINMA’s ramp-up of proceedings had been expected after an auditor visited the bank in recent months.

Credit Suisse had tried to remove the FINMA-appointed auditor, Thomas Werlen, because his law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan had been involved in legal cases against it.

Its appeal of a lower court decision backing his appointment is pending in the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

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