Credit Suisse fined over drugs gang money laundering

Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, which has been rocked by a series of scandals, was slapped with a $2-million-fine Monday in a money laundering case linked to a Bulgarian cocaine network.

Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court found that the bank failed to take steps to prevent money laundering by the criminal organisation, deeming it guilty of breaching its corporate responsibility.

Credit Suisse was fined two million Swiss francs ($2.1 million). The Zurich-based bank intends to appeal.

It was faulted for the failure up through its hierarchy and by its legal and compliance departments to monitor “banking relations” linked to the criminal gang, and to ensure their “compliance with anti-money laundering rules”.

A former employee was found guilty of aggravated money laundering over a number of transactions she had conducted or ordered to be conducted between July 2007 and December 2008, despite firm indications that the funds had criminal origins.

Her actions allowed the criminal gang to stash more than 19 million Swiss francs out of reach of the authorities.

She was given a 20-month prison sentence and a fine, both of which were suspended.

In a brief statement, Credit Suisse said it noted the court’s decision and that it intended to appeal.

Two Bulgarians were also found guilty of participating in a criminal organisation and aggravated money laundering.

The court also ordered the confiscation of a sum equivalent to more than 12 million francs concerning funds deposited with Credit Suisse by the criminal organisation.

Furthermore the bank will have to compensate the more than 19 million francs in assets belonging to the criminal organisation, “which could not be confiscated due to the bank’s internal failures”, the court statement said.