Massive Credit Suisse leak reveals bank managed hundreds of millions of dollars with clients tied to criminal activity and human rights abuses

Massive Credit Suisse leak reveals bank managed hundreds of millions of dollars with clients tied to criminal activity and human rights abuses
A man enters Credit Suisse's offices in New York.Brendan McDermid/Reuters
  • German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained leaked data containing information on more than 18,000 Credit Suisse accounts.
  • The accounts held more than $100 billion of assets, and several were tied to controversial figures involved in criminal activity.

A massive leak from Credit Suisse revealed the global investment bank managed hundreds of millions of dollars with known criminals and human rights abusers.

In addition to serving some of the wealthiest and most powerful figures in the world, data obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with news organizations that include The New York Times, found the bank worked with several controversial figures tied to criminal or problematic activity.

The data, which was shared by an unidentified whistleblower, includes information on more than 18,000 bank accounts opened from the 1940s through the 2010s and containing a combined $100 billion of assets.

The New York Times reported that account holders listed in the findings include King Abdullah II of Jordan, two sons of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, and the sons of a Pakistani intelligence chief who was involved in smuggling large sums of money from several countries to Islamic guerrillas in Afghanistan and corrupt Venezuelan officials.

The findings also included 25 since-closed accounts totalling $270 million belonging to individuals accused of involvement in a Venezuelan oil scandal, including Venezuela's former vice minister of energy, Nervis Villalobos, according to The New York Times.


In a statement, Credit Suisse said on Sunday it "strongly rejects the allegations and insinuations about the bank's purported business practices."

"The matters presented are predominantly historical, in some cases dating back as far as the 1940s, and the accounts of these matters are based on partial, inaccurate, or selective information taken out of context, resulting in tendentious interpretations of the bank's business conduct," Credit Suisse said in the statement.

Credit Suisse further stated that it had previously taken action "in line with applicable policies and regulatory requirements at the relevant times" involving problematic clients, adding that a recent internal investigation found that 90% of the noted accounts are "today closed or were in the process of closure prior to receipt of the press inquiries."

The incident marks the latest in growing scrutiny of Swiss banks, which have long been synonymous with the ultrawealthy and criminal activity tied to tax fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement thanks to strict bank-secrecy laws.

It also comes on the heels of a spate of recent scandals for Credit Suisse, including the collapse of Archegos Capital Management which saddled the bank with significant losses and the exposure of its funds to Greensill Capital. The incidents prompted concern over the company's risk management capabilities and prompted the departure of nearly 90 bankers across the organization.


"It becomes an uphill battle to fight at your bank," a former Credit Suisse employee told Insider's Reed Alexander in October. "You don't want to fight that battle."