Credit Suisse Group AG (Credit Suisse), Switzerland’s second-largest bank, is trapped in another scandal, as it has confirmed that its former Chief Operating Officer (COO), Pierre-Olivier Bouee was snooping on another executive in the bank. In February 2019, Bouee was found hiring detectives and using fraudulent means to spy a former HR head, Peter Goerke; besides a similar case was pending against Bouee for snooping over the former wealth management boss, Iqbal Khan.
Existing Credit Suisse’s Scandal
On Monday, December 23, 2019, Credit Suisse confirmed that Bouee was a mastermind of the spying scandal at the Swiss bank. As per the bank’s statement, “An internal probe found the operation was the brainchild of Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, who used ‘disproportionate’ methods to keep tabs on Khan after his defection to arch-rival UBS Group AG.”
The surveillance was considered a ‘rogue operation’ as it put all executives and directors including the CEO, Tidjane Thiam obscure about it. However, Thiam claimed it as an ‘isolated incident’. Meanwhile, as reported by Reuters, “Bouee was a long-time associate of Thiam and had followed him to Credit Suisse from Prudential.”
According to the bank’s Chairman, Urs Rohner, “The observation of Peter Goerke, which has now been confirmed, is inexcusable… there was ‘grave concern’ that those responsible for ordering the surveillance had not mentioned it during an earlier probe regarding Khan.” Rohner continued, “We are aware that the observation of Iqbal Khan and Peter Goerke has damaged the reputation of our bank.”
According to Reuters, “Goerke had no knowledge that he was being followed by private detectives until officials from the bank contacted him shortly before Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung made the matter public last Monday.” However, Goerke, who is presently acting as an adviser, revealed that he wished not to pursue the matter.
Reactions against the Scandal
Credit Suisse has been in the limelight of the media’s attention since the news of the first surveillance issue came out in public since September 2019 after Khan filed a criminal complaint in Zurich. Subsequently, the bank started the investigation and found that the surveillance did take place.
The investigation initiated by the law firm Homburger found Bouee and a security boss under him was responsible for the surveillance. Both executives resigned from Credit Suisse and Khan started working in Credit Suisse’s rival company, UBS. Following the scandal, the bank announced on Monday, “Bouee’s employment had now been terminated for cause, indicating his bonus and other potential compensation would likely be forfeited.”
A Credit Suisse spokesman explained, “Credit Suisse and Homburger would continue their latest probe having determined that Bouee and others involved had not told the truth when asked about any other surveillance orders in September and had taken care not to leave any identifiable traces in the bank’s systems.” The bank will involve in examining any relevant indications regarding the surveillance.
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