House Committee Cites ‘Significant Concerns’ Over Credit Suisse’s Treatment Of Russian Oligarchs, Requests Information

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Topline

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Monday prodded Credit Suisse CEO Thomas Gottstein for information after a news report suggested the Swiss international investment bank had urged investors to destroy information linked to Russian oligarchs.

Key Facts

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) asked for Credit Suisse to provide information by next month following a report from the Financial Times that the bank asked clients last month to destroy information related to oligarchs’ assets in the face of potential sanctions, according to a copy of the letter viewed by Forbes and first reported on by the Wall Street Journal.

Credit Suisse admitted in a March 3 statement it did ask investors to “destroy confidential data,” but said it was “unrelated to the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.”

The bank is one of the few multinational companies to not announce significant changes to its Russian business dealings in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine last month, though Bloomberg reported Monday that Credit Suisse is no longer seeking new business in Russia, according to an internal document.

Shares of Credit Suisse fell 3.1% to $7.90 TK amid more modest overall losses in Monday morning trading.

Credit Suisse declined to comment to Forbes, but pointed to its March 3 statement.

Crucial Quote

“This report raises significant concerns about Credit Suisse’s compliance with the severe sanctions imposed by United States and its allies and partners on the architects and enablers of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and oligarchs in his inner circle,” Maloney and Lynch wrote in the letter.

Big Number

$1.1 billion. That’s how much exposure Credit Suisse has in Russia, the company said earlier this month.

Key Background

The Financial Times reported March 2 that Credit Suisse asked investors February 28 – just four days after Russia invaded Ukraine – to destroy documents related to yachts, private jets and other assets from the bank’s clients, including oligarchs likely to face international sanctions. The documents were related to a so-called “synthetic securitization” deal aiming to protect its $2 billion loan portfolio of assets for ultra-wealthy clients, according to Maloney and Lynch. Credit Suisse froze about $5 billion in Russian money in 2018 in response to U.S. sanctions. Yachts, estates and private jets have become the target of international sanctions on oligarchs, and 25 Russian billionaires face sanctions that include an asset freeze.

Further Reading

Lawmakers Launch Probe of Credit Suisse Compliance With Russia Sanctions (Wall Street Journal)

Credit Suisse Stops New Business in Russia, Cuts Exposure (Bloomberg)

Credit Suisse asks investors to destroy documents linked to oligarch and tycoon yacht loans (Financial Times)

A Guide To The Private Jets And Helicopters Owned By Sanctioned Russian Billionaires (Forbes)



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