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Credit Suisse Denies Fault after Banking Data Leak

Credit Suisse Denies Fault after Banking Data Leak
Source: BBC

Credit Suisse has reacted angrily after a large data breach revealed the bank’s clients’ hidden riches.

A whistleblower revealed data on more than 18,000 bank accounts holding more than $100 billion (£73.6 billion) to the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Personal, shared, and corporate accounts, as well as those dating back to the 1940s, are all included.

Almost 50 news organizations have spent months analyzing the data.

They claim to have discovered proof that Credit Suisse accounts were used by clients involved in severe crimes such as money laundering and drug trafficking throughout their investigations.

However, the Swiss bank issued a statement on Sunday denying the claims, saying it “strongly rejects” the charges and insinuations regarding the bank’s purported business operations or lack of due diligence.

“The issues mentioned are mostly historical in nature, with some dating back to the 1940s,” it added, “and the reports of these issues are based on incomplete, erroneous, or selective material taken out of context.”

According to stories published by media outlets such as The Guardian and the New York Times, the bank established or maintained accounts for high-risk clientele, including criminals and human trafficking victims.

It is not unlawful to have a Swiss bank account, and the data leaked included data from people who had done nothing wrong.

The data was shared with more than 40 media organizations across the world by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a non-profit journalistic organization.

It covers bank accounts from decades ago. The bulk of the accounts were opened after 2000, although the bank’s ongoing activities are not mentioned.

Credit Suisse also stated on Sunday that it has looked into a significant number of accounts that might be linked to the issues identified.

“Approximately 90% of the evaluated accounts are now closed or in the process of closure prior to receipt of the press enquiries,” it stated, adding that “approximately 60% of the reviewed accounts were closed before 2015.” It declined to comment on particular clients listed.

“Deeply conscious of its obligation to clients and the financial system as a whole to ensure that the highest standards of behavior are kept,” the bank stated.

“These media charges appear to be part of a coordinated campaign to undermine not only the bank but the Swiss financial system as a whole, which has experienced substantial changes in recent years,” it stated.

The unidentified source described their purpose for sharing the documents more than a year ago in a statement released by German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“Swiss banking confidentiality regulations, in my opinion, are unethical. The excuse of safeguarding financial privacy is little more than a fig leaf for Swiss banks’ reprehensible conduct as partners with tax evaders “they penned

It’s unclear whether the whistleblower is a single person or a group.

“Having an offshore Swiss bank account does not always entail tax avoidance or any other financial crime,” they conceded.

Credit Suisse claimed to have implemented “major extra steps over the previous decade, including significant increased investments in countering financial fraud.”

It comes after a string of controversies for the Swiss bank, including the retirement of two of its senior executives after they were accused of violating Covid standards and eavesdropping on former employees.