Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said om Monday that it has reached a deal with German authorities to end a tax evasion probe, and that it would pay €150 million ($205 million) to settle the case.

"/> Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said om Monday that it has reached a deal with German authorities to end a tax evasion probe, and that it would pay €150 million ($205 million) to settle the case.

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CREDIT SUISSE

Credit Suisse to pay to end German tax probe

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse said om Monday that it has reached a deal with German authorities to end a tax evasion probe, and that it would pay €150 million ($205 million) to settle the case.

Credit Suisse to pay to end German tax probe
Giorgia Xenakis

“Credit Suisse group and the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Düsseldorf have reached an agreement regarding the proceedings against Credit Suisse employees,” said the bank in a statement.

“The entire proceedings are to be resolved,” it added.

The bank said the settlement meant that “a complex and prolonged legal dispute has been avoided.”

In addition, the deal provides “legal certainty.”

In 2010, the Düsseldorf prosecutor’s office raided branches of Switzerland’s second biggest bank in 13 German cities as part a probe of 1,100 clients and bank staff suspected of hiding funds from tax officials.

The raid came after officials in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia bought a computer disc for a reported €2.5 million ($3.2 million) with information on wealthy Germans linked to the investigation.

They were urged to come forward of their own accord to avoid prosecution, and some 12,000 had done so by late March 2010.

A spokesman for Düsseldorf prosecutors told AFP at the time that “the Credit Suisse clients have investments a total of around €1.2 billion.”

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CREDIT SUISSE

Probe unearths second spying case at Credit Suisse

An internal Credit Suisse probe confirmed Monday that a second executive had been spied on, following earlier revelations that the bank's former head of wealth management was tailed by private investigators.

Probe unearths second spying case at Credit Suisse
Photo: Depositphotos

But Switzerland's number two bank maintained that just one senior leader, who has since been forced out, was entirely to blame for both incidents and that rest of the top brass had not been aware of the activities. 

Releasing the investigation conducted by the Homburger law firm, Credit Suisse said that “it has been confirmed that Peter Goerke, who was a Member of the Executive Board at the time, was placed under observation by a third-party firm on behalf of Credit Suisse for a period of several days in February 2019.”

The probe was launched following media reports last week that spying at Credit Suisse ran deeper than one case.

The banking giant was shaken by the discovery last September that surveillance had been ordered on star banker and former wealth management chief Iqbal Khan.

READ: Credit Suisse boss resigns following spying scandal

Kahn was tailed after he jumped ship to competitor UBS, sparking fears he was preparing to poach employees and clients.

That revelation came after Khan confronted the private investigators tailing him, leading to a fight in the heart of Zurich. Khan pressed charges.

An initial investigation by Homburger blamed former chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, who stepped down, but found no indication chief executive Tidjane Thiam was involved.

The probe results released Monday echoed those findings, concluding that Bouee “issued the mandate to have Peter Goerke put under observation.”

“As was the case with Iqbal Khan, this observation was carried out via an intermediary,” it said, stressing that Bouee “did not respond truthfully” during the initial investigation “when asked about any additional observations and did not disclose the observation of Peter Goerke.”

The new investigation also did not find indications that Thiam or others in the board or management “had any knowledge of the observation of Peter Goerke until media reported on it,” the statement said.

“The Board of Directors considers the observation of Peter Goerke to be unacceptable and completely inappropriate” it said, adding that it had issued an apology to Goerke.

It added that “safeguards” were already in place to avoid future similar misconduct. Switzerland's market watchdog FINMA meanwhile said last week that it was “appointing an independent auditor to investigate Credit Suisse in the context of observation activities.”

“This investigator will clarify the relevant corporate governance questions, particularly in relation to the observation activities,” a statement said Friday.

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