The Swiss Federal Criminal Court also found a former Credit Suisse employee guilty.
Credit Suisse, the second largest bank in Switzerland, was fined on Monday for failing to detect a money laundering scheme involving a Bulgarian gang of cocaine traffickers. The Swiss Federal Criminal Court also found a former employee of the financial institution guilty of money laundering, reports Reuters.
Under Swiss law, a company can be held liable for a improper management or failure to take all reasonable steps to prevent a crime from occurring. Prosecutors alleged that the former employee helped hide the illicit origin of clients' money through more than 146 million Swiss francs ($152.9 million) in transactions, including 43 million francs ($45 million). in cash, some of them stuffed in suitcases. For her part, the woman indicated during the previous hearings that she informed the managers about the events related to the clients, including two murders, but who, nevertheless, decided to continue offering their services.
During the trial, it was examined whether Credit Suisse and its former employee did enough to prevent the gang from laundering their profits through the bank between the years 200 4 and 2008. The court declared that it had found deficiencies within the entity both with regard to the management of relations with the clients of the criminal organization and in the control of the application of anti-money laundering regulations. “These deficiencies allowed the withdrawal of the assets of the criminal organization, which was the basis for the conviction of the former bank employee for qualified money laundering“, affirmed the president of the court when dictating the sentence. “The company could have avoided the infringement if it had fulfilled its organizational obligations,” he said, adding that the former employee's superiors had been “passive.”
Credit Suisse was fined 2 million Swiss francs (2.1 million dollars); In addition, the confiscation of assets worth more than 12 million francs (12.5 million dollars) that the drug gang had in bank accounts was ordered, and the institution renounced more than 19 million francs (19 $.9 million), the amount that could not be seized due to its internal deficiencies. In turn, the former employee, whose name cannot be revealed under Swiss law, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and a fine for money laundering. The president of the court said that she had not fulfilled her role in the “first line of defense” of the entity.
The bank declared in a statement that it will appeal the decision, noting that the pre-trial investigation dates back more than 14 years. “Credit Suisse continually tests its anti-money laundering framework and has strengthened it over time, in line with evolving regulatory standards,” he said. Meanwhile, the former employee's lawyer said that he would appeal the “ unfounded and unfair decision “, pointing out that the woman did not no financial benefit had been obtained. “This ruling places the responsibility for money laundering on people without any serious training or experience,” he added.