Credit Suisse must pay fines and compensation of 21 million Swiss francs, or $22 million, for lax controls that allowed an worker of the bank to assist a Bulgarian drug ring launder money, Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court said on Monday.
The ruling was the most recent setback for the bank, which issued a profit warning this month and has been affected by boardroom turmoil.
Credit Suisse, based in Zurich, said it will appeal the choice, which stems from the actions of a bank worker in 2007 and 2008. The worker, who was not named, helped the cocaine-smuggling ring make bank transfers “despite concrete indications regarding the cash’s criminal origins,” the court said in an announcement.
During court hearings in February, the Credit Suisse worker testified that the bank was aware that the cash — sometimes delivered in suitcases filled with money — got here from a gang that had been tied to murders and large-scale smuggling of cocaine from South America, Reuters reported.
Credit Suisse shared responsibility for the cash laundering since the bank’s management, legal team and compliance department did not be certain that anti-money-laundering rules were being followed, the court said.
Credit Suisse said Monday that it “is constantly testing its anti-money-laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time.”
The bank warned investors on June 8 that it was prone to report a loss for the quarter, it’s third in a row and an ominous sign as economic growth slows.
Credit Suisse continues to be recovering from billion-dollar entanglements with Greensill Capital, a bankrupt British lender, and Archegos, a collapsed hedge fund. In January, the bank’s chairman, António Horta-Osório, stepped down, lower than a 12 months after he was brought in to scrub up the mess. He resigned amid an investigation into whether his travels broke pandemic rules. In April, Credit Suisse announced the departures of its finance chief, head of Asia and general counsel.
In its decision Monday, the Swiss court fined the bank 2 million francs for the money-laundering violation, confiscated 12 million francs held by the gang on the bank and ordered an extra payment of 19 million francs to cover funds it couldn’t get well due to “internal deficiencies” at Credit Suisse, the court said.
The bank worker, who has since left Credit Suisse, was sentenced to twenty months in prison for money laundering. A Bulgarian citizen accused of organising the money-laundering operation for the drug ring was sentenced to 36 months in prison. A second Bulgarian citizen was sentenced to 12 months for acting as an intermediary.
All of the sentences will probably be substantially reduced if the defendants maintain good behavior, the court ruled.