Credit Suisse trouble over money laundering, beneficial ownership regarding FIFA
18 Sep 2018

Swiss financial watchdog Finma said it decided to take enforcement action against Credit Suisse after an investigation found it had breached anti-money laundering regulations, such as beneficial ownership care, regarding a number of corporate scandals including the FIFA affair.

The FIFA scandal exposed incidences of widespread bribery and corruption after US enforcement cracked down on the world football organisation.

The issue of where the dirty money was stashed and the role of the banks in processing it is a key aspect of the scandal, especially for regulators.

Finma said it had found that Credit Suisse AG had infringed its anti-money laundering supervisory obligations, having shortcomings when it came to identifying the client, determining the beneficial owner and categorising a business relationship as posing an increased risk.

The bank also fell short regarding documentation as well as performing the necessary clarifications upon increased risk and associated plausibility checks.

“The identified shortcomings occurred repeatedly over a number of years, mainly before 2014. An above-average number of faults were discovered in business relationships opened by the former Group subsidiary Clariden Leu AG,” Finma explained.

“The reviews of the bank’s conduct in the FIFA, [and other] affairs were conducted independently of each other but show similar results.

“As a result of these violations, Finma has ordered Credit Suisse to remediate relevant control systems and processes, and prove that higher-risk business relationships and transactions are adequately detected monitored and documented.”

“In addition, the bank must have implemented a ‘single client view’ for all relationships and for all relevant functions by the end of 2019,” Finma added.

The watchdog said it will appoint an independent third party to review the implementation of these measures, ‘including the measures initiated since 2015, their adequacy and effectiveness.’

A spokesman for Finma said it will not fine the bank, however, as it does not have the powers to do so.

In a statement, Credit Suisse said: “Implementing a culture of compliant growth at Credit Suisse is our highest priority and it is an individual and collective responsibility that we take extremely seriously.

“We will continue to work closely with FINMA to complete the changes that are underway and implement additional measures.”

Efforts to reach FIFA for a comment were unsuccessful.

– Irene Madongo

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