Was Credit Suisse Also Propped Up To Protect Dirty Money Laundering?
April 30, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—On March 19, the Swiss government and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) effectively ordered the UBS Bank to purchase Credit Suisse for $3.2 billion. Between October 1, 2022, and mid-March 2023, depositors had withdrawn $200 billion in deposits from Credit Suisse, and it was about to go under. Reuters reported March 20 that the Swiss government and the SNB central bank had put up together “CFH260 billion Swiss francs ($280 billion)” to support and backstop the deal, should some or all of it go bad.
Why would the Swiss government and its central bank put up the enormous sum of a quarter of a trillion dollars for the deal? Especially considering that the country has only 8.7 million people. Isn’t that overkill?
One certain fact is that Credit Suisse has $39 trillion in derivatives, and it is exposed to counterparties in America, London, and elsewhere. Should those fail, triggering a chain reaction of other failures, that would blow out the world financial system.
But there is more. On March 22, the Wall Street Journal ran a major article, “It Wasn’t Just Credit Suisse. Switzerland Itself Needed Rescuing.” The Journal quoted Thierry Burkart, head of the Liberal Party, the country’s third largest: “Credit Suisse is not only a Swiss company. It is part of the Swiss identity.”
In fact, Switzerland, working with the City of London and Wall Street, is at the center of a trillions of dollars money-laundering machine, that includes tax havens, untraceability of funds, stringent secrecy codes, and laundering of drug money.
Just as one example. On June 27, 2022, Switzerland’s Federal Court convicted Credit Suisse of laundering money from 2004-2008 by a Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang, a case that took a long while to get to court. The June 27 Reuters article, “Credit Suisse Found Guilty in Cocaine Cash Laundering Case,” reported that “A former [Credit Suisse] employee was found guilty of money-laundering in the trial, which included testimony on murders and cash stuffed into suitcases.”
Credit Suisse claimed it had no idea it was laundering money. The judge in the trial fined Credit Suisse $2 million, and also ordered the confiscation of the equivalent of more than $12 million worth of deposits linked to the criminal group. The proverbial slap on the wrist.
Swiss bank secrecy is extreme. The Swiss Bank Secrecy Act first came into force in 1934, making it a criminal offense to reveal client data without permission. Swiss bankers will not tell any governmental authority anywhere in the world pursuing criminal violations, such as investigating tax avoidance, money laundering, and so forth, anything about the client who has stashed money into secrecy-protecting accounts in Swiss banks.
UBS, the sixth largest bank in Europe, which is taking over Credit Suisse, has $1.18 trillion in assets. In addition, it has $3.1 trillion in its “wealth management fund,” which manages money in strict secrecy. UBS has been at the center of several investigations of American, French, German, Israeli, and Belgian tax authorities, for facilitating tax evasion.
Nicholas Shaxson, author of the 2011 book Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World, reports that today $19 trillion is hidden in tax havens around the world. Some Swiss bankers are specialists in this.
While some portion of the operations of Swiss banks fund industry, others are critical cogs in the City of London-centered offshore money laundering circuit.
Viktor Ivanov, from 2008 to 2016 the head of the Federal Narcotics Agency of Russia, and a leading anti-drug money launderer, has said that drug money laundering has kept banks alive.
Perhaps some of the enormous quarter of a trillion dollars put up by the Swiss government to backstop the UBS-Credit Suisse merger is to protect the laundering side of the “Swiss banks’ identity”?