Switzerland’s financial regulator has begun enforcement proceedings against Credit Suisse over the bank’s corporate espionage scandal.
The move advances a probe that Finma launched at the end of last year, marking an escalation in the fallout of the affair that rocked the country’s financial industry last year.
Finma opened its investigation after details burst into the open about two cases of intrusive surveillance operations run by the bank against departing senior employees, including Iqbal Khan who led the group’s wealth management division.
The watchdog said on Wednesday that the investigation it commissioned to an independent auditor was now complete. Enforcement proceedings will focus on breaches of supervisory laws linked to the bank’s observation and security activities and “in particular the question of how these activities were documented and controlled.”
Tidjane Thiam, former chief executive of Credit Suisse, was forced to step down from the company in February following a boardroom tussle, although the bank has said that it found no evidence Mr Thiam was directly involved in ordering the observation.
The first stage after launching enforcement proceedings involves the regulator gathering further evidence by requesting additional documents, hiring an investigating agent or conducting on-site reviews and interviews. The proceedings can be expected to take several months, it said.
Credit Suisse said in a statement that it “will continue to fully co-operate with Finma and is determined to support the effort to ensure a complete and expeditious conclusion of the review of this episode and incorporate lessons learned.” It added that surveillance is not part of its culture.