Switzerland’s troubled Credit Suisse and its rescuer, USB, are subject to an investigation into whether bankers helped Russian oligarchs evade Western sanctions, according to a media report. Some major U.S. banking institutions are also under scrutiny within the probe initiated by the Justice Department, sources say.
Credit Suisse, US Banks Investigated for Suspected Sanctions Violations Favoring Russia’s Rich
Switzerland-based global investment banks and financial services firms, Credit Suisse and UBS, are under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bloomberg revealed, quoting knowledgeable sources who remained anonymous.
According to the report, the department has been trying to establish if financial professionals working for these and other banks have supported sanctioned wealthy Russians in attempts to circumvent restrictions imposed by Western governments.
U.S. authorities have sent out a number of subpoenas to employees of the two Swiss giants as well as some major U.S. banks, two people familiar with the inquiries told the publication. They want to identify the bankers and advisers who worked with such clients over the past several years and find out whether any laws were broken.
The DOJ requested information on the matter before the recent crisis at Credit Suisse erupted. Earlier in March, its shares dropped to a record low amid loss of investor confidence. The bank borrowed $54 billion from the Swiss National Bank and UBS came to its rescue with a state-backed acquisition proposal.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a massive expansion of sanctions against the government in Moscow and influential people allied with the Kremlin, including oligarchs. Before that, Credit Suisse was well-known for catering to rich Russians, the report notes.
At some point, it managed over $60 billion for them that generated up to $600 million in annual revenue. When it ended its business relations with individual Russian clients in May, 2022, the bank held about $33 billion of their funds, 50% more than UBS.
Which other banks do you think may be investigated for facilitating sanctions evasion for Russians? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.