Credit Suisse, the second-largest bank of Switzerland is making headlines for Suisse Secrets data leak by OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project). According to the revelation, $8 billion worth of assets were held in the accounts of corrupt politicians, dictators, bureaucrats, human traffickers and drug dealers etc. As per the OCCRP website, compliance experts state that Credit Suisse bank should not have allowed many of these accounts, in the first place. Almost 18000 of these accounts belonged to customers from foreign countries. Most of these foreign clients were from countries like Egypt, Venezuela, Ukraine, Thailand and other parts of developing world.
An anonymous whistleblower had reportedly leaked the data details of these accounts to Suddeutche Zeitung which is a German newspaper. 160 reporters from dozens of outlets from the world worked on the report and found about the Swiss accounts associated with criminals.
The Suisse Secrets show that failure of due diligence by the bank could be the reason how it allowed customers to open accounts for keeping illegitmate money. The recent leak is not the only scandal, the bank is also facing the accusation of laundering money worth of €140 million for a cocain smuggler from Bulgaria.
Famous Credit Suisse Clients Who Appeared in Suisse Secrets Leak
There are many prominent names in the list of people who used to Swiss accounts to hide their secret wealth or to evade tax. These include intelligence officials, bureaucrats, politicians and even business persons mainly from the developing countries. King Abdullah II of Jordan had $223 million in his account. One prominent country that has mentioned in the Suiss Secrets is Venezuela; the country’s officials associated with state owned oil companies deposited hundereds of dollars in the Credit Suesse accounts that too at the time when the country was suffering from the worst economic crisis.
Former Algerian Defence Minister Khaled Nezzar, who allegedly aided in military coup in country had at maximum £900,000 in his account that was reportedly active untill 2013. As per The Guardian that had reportedly access to the data leaked by OCCRP, the sons of Egyptian dictator Hasni Mubarak were also the bank’s client.
Another interesting leak in Suesse Secrets is an account owned by Vatican that allegedly invested £350 millions in a scam.
Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Lazerenko who served his country from 1997 to 1998 also had an account worth £3.6 million. He reportedly opened two accounts after his resignation.
Pakistan’s former ISI chief General Akhtar Abdul Rehman who aided Mujahideen against Soviet Union with money from the United States and Saudi Arbia is another prominent name. According to OCCRP, two accounts; one in 1985 and other in 1986 were opened in Suisse Credit in the name of General Akhtar’s sons. The accounts accumulated an amount upto £3.5 million and 9 million by 2003 and 2010 respectively. However, one of the General Akhtar’s son has reportedly said that the information was not correct.
The Stance of Suisse Credit on Suisse Secret Leaks
As per OCCRP the secrecy laws in the Switzerland and profit maximizing potential of attracting high risk clients was the reason that banks like Credit Suisse were safe havens for criminals and corrupt people. The bank manages assets worth £1.6 billion and employes 50,000 people. However bank while refraining to comment on the business practices of its clients has denied allegations regarding its business practices and called the related information in OCCRP report as selective an out of context.
Suisse Secrets are just another addition to the likes Panama Leaks, Paradise Papers and Pandora papers that revealed about the questionable business practices of politicians, bureucrats and business people from all over the world.