Swiss bank guilty of laundering drug money – media
Switzerland’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse, was found guilty and fined for failing to detect a money-laundering scheme involving a drug cartel, Reuters reported on Monday.
According to the report, a former employee of the bank accepted some 146 million Swiss francs ($152 million) in bank deposits between 2004 and 2008 from a Bulgarian cocaine smuggling ring, while concealing the criminal origins of the funds. Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court said on Monday that Credit Suisse had failed to both detect the scheme and implement anti-money laundering rules. Under Swiss law, a company can be held responsible for failing to take measures to prevent a crime.
“These deficiencies enabled the withdrawal of the criminal organization's assets, which was the basis for the conviction of the bank's former employee for qualified money laundering… The company could have prevented the infringement if it had fulfilled its organizational obligations,” the court said, as cited by Reuters, noting that the bank’s management had been “passive” in dealing with the case.
According to the former employee, her superiors were made aware of the origins of the money, but the bank continued to manage the funds nonetheless. Credit Suisse denied the funds originated illegally, stating that the clients in question presented themselves as owners of legitimate businesses in construction, leasing and hotels.
Both Credit Suisse and its former employee have denied any wrongdoing.
Credit Suisse now faces a fine of two million Swiss francs ($2.1 million), while the former employee was also fined and given a suspended 20-month prison sentence. The court also ordered the drug cartel’s funds that are held in the bank to be confiscated.
Credit Suisse said on Monday it would appeal against the conviction.
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