Swiss regulator starts enforcement proceedings against Credit Suisse over spying scandal

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The logo of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse is seen on October 17, 2017 in Zurich.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

Swiss watchdog FINMA (the Financial Market Supervisory Authority) said Wednesday it had initiated enforcement proceedings against Credit Suisse over the spying affair that came to light last year.

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“FINMA has opened enforcement proceedings against the bank, in which it will pursue indications of violations of supervisory law in the context of the bank’s observation and security activities and in particular the question of how these activities were documented and controlled,” the regulator said in statement.

“Typically such proceedings can be expected to take several months,” it added.

CEO Tidjane Thiam resigned earlier this year over the sandal that began in 2019. His departure came amid the initial investigation by FINMA which followed two instances of former Credit Suisse employees, including former wealth management boss Iqbal Khan, being placed under surveillance.

The outgoing CEO maintained that he was not aware of the spying operation, which also led to the resignation of COO Pierre-Olivier Bouee and the suicide of a private investigator.

The bank scrambled to mitigate the damage inflicted by the efforts to carry out covert surveillance on the former top executive. In October, Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner apologized to Khan and his family for the “wrong and disproportionate” observation operation which he said had caused “severe reputational damage to the bank.”

An internal investigation carried out by law firm Homburger last year determined that Bouee acted alone in ordering the surveillance of Khan, who left the Swiss lender abruptly in July to join fierce domestic rival UBS.

The Zurich-based bank said Wednesday that it would continue to fully cooperate with FINMA.

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