Switzerland: watchdog criticises Credit Suisse over over Fifa money laundering

Credit Suisse was given until the end of next year to strengthen its internal processes to combat money laundering as Switzerland’s financial regulator concluded a pair of enforcement proceedings against the nation’s second-biggest bank.

Swiss regulator FINMA announced the findings following an investigation that looked at Credit Suisse’s conduct from 2006 to 2016. In addition to shortcomings regarding FIFA and the two oil firms, the probe also blasted Credit Suisse for shortcomings in its oversight of a high-profile money manager who exposed clients to excessive risk.

The money manager was not named in the probe, but the Bloomberg news agency has identified him as Patrice Lescaudron, who was sentenced to five years in prison in February by a Geneva court over a raft of illegal trades.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA said in a statement Monday it had concluded “two enforcement procedures” against Credit Suisse, the country’s second-biggest banking group behind UBS for actions mainly before 2014.

In the first “FINMA identified deficiencies in the bank’s adherence to anti-money laundering due diligence obligations in relation to suspected corruption involving the International Federation of Association Football FIFA, the Brazilian oil corporation Petrobras and the Venezuelan oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).”

The second procedure relates to a significant business relationship for the bank with a politically exposed person (PEP).

Credit Suisse issued a statement saying it noted FINMA’s announcement and acknowledged its conclusions as part of an ongoing review of cases originating between 2006 and 2014.

It said that since the restructuring of Credit Suisse in 2015, it has taken a number of actions “to continuously improve and strengthen compliance.”

Among these, Credit Suisse said that in October 2015 it separated its legal and compliance functions, creating a dedicated Group Compliance and Regulatory Affairs function that reports directly to the CEO, with a new head sitting on its executive board.

“We have increased our global compliance headcount by 42 percent in less than three years, hiring over 800 additional compliance specialists,” said the bank, noting that it has made more than 10,000 bank-wide control improvements to correct past weaknesses.