This week, Switzerland’s Federal Prosecutor requested that Credit Suisse be fined the maximum of CHF 5 million allowed under Swiss law for money laundering related to its dealings with a network of Bulgarian drug traffickers, reported RTS.
The trial began two and a half weeks ago at the Switzerland’s Federal Penal Tribunal in Bellinzona. Two Bulgarians, one bank employee, one ex-employee and the bank appeared in court.
Federal prosecutor Alice de Chambrier requested that the bank be convicted of aggravated money laundering along with support of a criminal organisation. The prosecutor highlighted serious oversights related to banking activities that typically come with a high risk of abuse. In addition, the establishment had failed to cooperate with the investigation.
Due to the absence of extenuating circumstances, a fine of CHF 5 million is warranted, said the magistrate. The fine is to be combined with the confiscation of funds in three accounts at the bank, the payment of CHF 34 million, representing funds that escaped justice, and the payment of the CHF 7 million of income made from the affair by Credit Suisse.
The defence argued that bankers are not the police and should be able to trust their clients. However, the prosecutor said that all checks had failed. Large sums of cash crossing international borders would suggest that the gang was prepared to take large risks. Large sums of cash in small bills should have alerted the bank. It was impossible not to recognise that this money came from drug trafficking.
Credit Suisse, as other recent affairs show, seems to feel above the laws of this country, said federal prosecutor Luc Leimgruber. The ease with which the accounts were opened and laundered funds transferred abroad is disconcerting, he said.
Federal prosecutor Alice de Chambrier argued for a sentence of 36 months for one of the Bulgarians involved and 24 months for the other. For the current and ex-Credit Suisse employees, sentences of 24 months and 22 months were requested.