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Swiss Prosecutors Charge Credit Suisse Over Alleged Drug Money Laundering

Credit Suisse has been indicted by Swiss prosecutors for allegedly failing to prevent money laundering, Bloomberg reports, adding that a former bank manager was also indicted alongside Credit Suisse.

The lender, according to the report, “failed to take all the organizational measures” required to be considered reasonable to guard against the laundering of money made from selling cocaine, which was then used to buy property in Switzerland and Bulgaria, according to the Office of the State Attorney General on Thursday (Dec. 17).

The case in question goes back to 2008 when a Bulgarian wrestler was investigated for reportedly turning to drug trafficking. The investigation continued for seven years afterward and began to broaden to include associates of the wrestler, a former employee of the bank, a former executive, and then Credit Suisse itself. Then in 2017, the wrestler’s employer was convicted of aggravated money laundering after he smuggled over 4 million Swiss francs in small notes from Barcelona to Switzerland.

Credit Suisse, the case determined, had failed to freeze 35 million francs subject to a 2007 seizure order. The bank responded to the charges by saying it was “astonished” charges had been brought in such an old investigation, and intends to defend itself “vigorously.”

The bank also rejected the notions that it had acted wrongly in 2007, saying at that time, the payments were reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General, Bloomberg writes.

But prosecutors said Credit Suisse had known about the deficiencies since around 2004.

“The fact that the bank let it continue until 2008, or even beyond, impeded or frustrated the detection of the money laundering activities,” the indictment read, according to Bloomberg.

PYMNTS writes that banks need to work on compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, do better at record keeping and watch out for things like transactions that look fishy in some way. All those things could help, rather than banks making innovation and speed their sole focus.

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