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Why Credit Suisse's spying scandal won't go away

Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse will publish the results of a probe it commissioned into the alleged surveillance of another top executive on Monday Credit: ARND WIEGMANN/Reuters

A garden party bust-up, a striking blonde and four cars of detectives. The dust has not yet settled on Credit Suisse’s spy thriller 

三级成人视频Christmas is a time of reflection for bank bosses as they sign off on those all-important bonus numbers and hope for a better year ahead.

三级成人视频But as Credit Suisse chief Tidjane Thiam takes stock of the last 12 months, his thoughts will no doubt be dominated by something far more unusual than the struggle with turbulent markets and low interest rates.

The Swiss bank has been gripped by a scandal that reads like something straight out of a spy thriller – and it is refusing to give way.

This drama first erupted in September, when it emerged that competing for ultra-rich clients is so tough these days that Credit Suisse resorted to spying on its ex-wealth management boss Iqbal Khan after he resigned to join archrival UBS. The bizarre saga involved a chase through the streets of Zurich and a suburban garden party bust-up.

Fast-forward four months and the dust still hasn’t settled. Two fresh espionage scandals have emerged in the past few weeks, while on Friday the Swiss market regulator Finma announced that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the crisis.

“The observation activities carried out by Credit Suisse raise various compliance issues,” the regulator said.

“Finma’s ongoing investigations of this matter will now be stepped up.”

T三级成人视频he unusual move ruins any hopes the board might have had of rebuilding its brand in time for Christmas. In the secretive world of managing billionaires’ money, discretion is everything. Further revelations could be unearthed tomorrow morning, when Credit Suisse publishes the results of a probe it commissioned into the alleged surveillance of another top executive.

This review was launched after Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung last week claimed the bank’s former HR chief Peter Goerke was spied on in February, just before he left Credit Suisse’s management board. The paper claimed to have seen documents which it said proved surveillance had been taken out against Goerke, alleging that it cost the bank almost £10,000 and involved four cars with two detectives in each.

That report came a week after The Wall Street Journal三级成人视频 reported that former executive Colleen Graham believed she had been trailed in 2017, following a bust-up with the bank over an accounting issue. When she found out about the Khan case in September, she emailed Thiam and chairman Urs Rohner to say she’d been followed in Manhattan and Long Island by a “striking tall blonde” two years ago, Bloomberg wrote at the weekend.

三级成人视频Credit Suisse said that after “thorough and comprehensive internal investigations into every one of Ms Graham’s claims”, it has found them to be “entirely baseless”.

Nevertheless, the saga is particularly embarrassing for Thiam 三级成人视频– the former boss of UK insurer Prudential – who said earlier this year that the Khan incident was an “isolated” one.

In a strange plot twist, he also happens to be the star banker’s angry neighbour – the pair fell out at a party hosted by Thiam in a row over some trees.

三级成人视频Although Rohner said the garden party bust-up “took place on a personal level”, the relationship between chief executive and employee had soured to the point that Khan, who helped boost profits in the bank’s wealth arm by 80pc, decided to quit.

三级成人视频“In the first few months after the incident, it appeared that the two would be able to work together without any negative consequences for our bank,” Rohner said after Homburger’s investigation. “However, with time it became evident that a long-term collaboration based on mutual trust was not possible after all.”

Homburger’s report concluded that Thiam’s right-hand man Pierre-Olivier Bouée acted alone in hiring the detectives, 三级成人视频with no evidence to suggest the chief executive was aware of his plan. Thiam, who has been in charge of the bank since 2015, was no doubt hoping the debacle would blow over.

Board member John Tiner had leapt to his defence by telling reporters in October that the scandal did not mean Thiam had lost control of the bank – this was an “unusual act” and an “exceptional occurrence”, he argued.

三级成人视频Yet the latest claims challenge the assertion that the Khan saga was a one-off. As the year reaches a close with a stepped-up Finma investigation and growing questions about the bank’s culture, all eyes will be on the findings of Credit Suisse’s probe into the Goerke case on Monday.