Suisse Secrets, a term that has been trending on social media in relation to the data leak of Swiss Bank, Credit Suisse, that has exposed the identities of some of the world’s richest person and how they accumulated the said wealth. The Suisse Secrets mention names of corrupt politicians, criminals and fraudsters that have put their wealth in Switzerland’s bank, Credit Suisse.
The data leak from Credit Suisse, one of the world’s most iconic banks, revealed how the Swiss Bank held billions of dollars for heads of state, intelligence officials, sanctioned businessmen, human rights abusers, drug lords, and many others.
A self-described whistle blower leaked the data of more than 18,000 bank accounts at Credit Suisse, collectively holding $100 billion, to a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper shared the data with non-profit group, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and other organizations around the world.
The Suisse Secrets covers accounts that were opened from the 1940s to 2010s, however, they do not show details of the Swiss Bank’s current operations. The leaks showed that Credit Suisse opened and managed accounts for not only wealthy individuals but those with problematic backgrounds as well, including war criminals, drug lords and human traffickers.
Swiss Banks have been under scrutiny on taking money linked to criminal activity and faced legal prohibitions, said Daniel Thelesklaf, the former head of Switzerland’s anti-money laundering agency. However, he mentioned that the law generally hasn’t been enforced.
Candice Sun, a spokesperson for the bank, said in a statement, “Credit Suisse strongly rejects the allegations and inferences about the bank’s purported business practices.” She said many of the accounts in the leak date back decades to “a time where laws, practices and expectations of financial institutions were very different from where they are now,”
She added that many of the accounts mentioned in the Suisse Secrets have already been closed. “Of the remaining active accounts, we are comfortable that appropriate due diligence, reviews and other control related steps were taken, including pending account closures,” she added.
The spokesperson said that the Swiss Bank leak appears to be part of some “a concerted effort to discredit the bank and the Swiss financial marketplace, which has undergone significant changes over the last several years,”
The data leak of the Swiss Bank, which has been named, Suisse Secrets, follows the so-called Panama Papers in 2016, the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the latest Pandora Papers, which were released last year in 2021.
These leaks all have one thing in common, which is they all shed light on the secretive workings of banks, law firms and financial-service providers to expose the corrupt and criminals who launder large sums of money.
The Suisse Secrets will likely increase the scrutiny faced by Swiss Banks, especially Credit Suisse. Switzerland has been a haven for people looking to hide money because of the country’s bank-secrecy laws. Credit Suisse and UBS, which are two of the largest banks in Switzerland, have been the target of authorities in the US and elsewhere who are trying to crackdown on tax evaders, money laundering and other serious crimes.
It bears mentioning that in 2014, the Swiss Bank, Credit Suisse, pleaded guilty to conspiring to help Americans file false tax returns and agreed to pay fines, penalties and restitutions totaling $2.6 billion. The wasn’t the end of it as the bank paid $5.3 billion to the Justice Department three years later in order to settle allegations about its marketing of mortgage-backed securities.
Last fall, Credit Suisse also paid $475 million to the US and British authorities to resolve an investigation into a kickback and bribery scheme in Mozambique and currently the bank is undergoing a trial in Switzerland in which it is accused of allowing drug traffickers to launder money through the bank.
Suisse Secrets also reveal that Credit Suisse continued to do business with customers even after bank officials flagged suspicious activity involving their finances.
The data leak of the Swiss Bank exposed bank accounts linked to government officials across the Middle East and beyond. The data raises questions about how the public officials and their families accumulated vast amounts of wealth in region rife with corruption.
Furthermore, Suisse Secrets reveal that senior officials and their children from several countries that cooperated with the United States in the war on terror also had money stashed at Credit Suisse.