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HEALTH

Switzerland: Ex-Credit Suisse boss pocketed $11m in spy scandal

The former head of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse pocketed nearly $11 million last year as the company grappled with a massive spying scandal, the bank indicated in its annual report Wednesday.

Switzerland: Ex-Credit Suisse boss pocketed $11m in spy scandal
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Tidjane Thiam resigned from the helm of Switzerland's second-largest bank last month amid revelations that Credit Suisse had spied on a former top executive and other employees, even though an internal probe found he was not personally responsible.

Thiam, who has been replaced by former Swiss division chief Thomas Gottstein, was paid a base salary of three million Swiss francs ($3.1 million, 2.8 million euros), but received a range of bonuses and other payments, bringing the total to 10.7 million francs.

The payout he received in terms of non-financial assets was adjusted down after spying allegations against the bank came to light, and he ended up pocketing 15 percent less in total than a year earlier.

The scandal broke last September, with the discovery that surveillance had been ordered on Iqbal Khan, a star banker and former wealth management chief.

Khan was tailed after he jumped ship to competitor UBS amid concerns he was preparing to poach employees and clients.

An initial investigation blamed former chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, who stepped down in October, but found no indication the rest of the top brass, including Thiam, were involved or even aware of the spying activities.

Thiam has steadfastly maintained he had know knowledge of the spying activities. Credit Suisse also pointed out that there was “no evidence of his direct participation in the observation matter”.

Credit Suisse said it planned to go ahead with its general assembly as planned on April 30, but that special precautions would be taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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