Credit Suisse Spied on 7 Executives: FINMA

The Swiss financial markets regulator concluded its investigation against Credit Suisse over spying on employees, finding that the bank ran at least seven surveillance campaigns on top executives.

According to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), the senior management of the bank knew about some of the surveillance, quashing the bank’s previous claims that spying activities were ordered by some rogue employees, namely its former Chief Operating Officer and former Security Chief.

“FINMA’s investigation revealed that in the period between 2016 and 2019, Credit Suisse planned seven observations, most of which were carried out,” the regulator stated on Tuesday.

The bank spied on the members of the executive boards in Switzerland in two cases, while other surveillance activities were carried out against former employees and third parties abroad. 

Credit Suisse previously acknowledged spying on two employees. In an official statement on Tuesday, the bank said that the additional five surveillances were planned by a small group of former executives to ensure physical safety.

Concealing Activities

“The way in which the observation activities were planned and carried out revealed serious shortcomings in the bank’s corporate governance,” FINMA noted. “Observations were not specifically prohibited in Credit Suisse’s policies, but neither were they regulated.”

“In most cases, decisions to carry out observations were taken informally and without comprehensible reasons being given. No documented considerations were made of the risks associated with observation. Finally, the observations and their background were concealed.”

Additionally, the regulator established that the bank’s security services were significantly involved in carrying out the surveillance.

FINMA initiated its investigation against the Swiss bank after allegations by a former executive of surveillance activities. The implications of the scandal even forced out the former CEO of the bank ahead of the completion of his tenure.

Meanwhile, the Swiss bank is facing heavy fines brought by multiple regulators for violating regulations by writing loans to state-owned companies in Mozambique in 2013.

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