11/12/2019 • The Telegraph

Credit Suisse faces fresh embarrassment as fraud victims demand answers again

Credit Suisse faces fresh embarrassment at its investor day on Wednesday as victims of an alleged $150m (£113m) fraud demand answers again.

A group of billionaires, including Georgia’s former prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and Russian oligarch Vitaly Malkin, have today published an open letter to chief executive Tidjane Thiam timed to coincide with the Swiss bank’s investor day.

The group published a similar letter in newspaper adverts earlier this year, timed with the Swiss bank’s annual general meeting. They say they are victims of fraud from ex-wealth manager Patrice Lescaudron, who was last year sentenced to five years in prison.

In the latest letter, they argue there are “obvious questions about how the bank’s employees were able to bypass systems and controls which should have prevented this fraud”.

They also urge the bank to “return the full amount of the funds stolen from client accounts, and given the length of time since those thefts took place, to make proper proposals for payment of interest”. The letter reads: “As the chief executive of Credit Suisse you are ultimately responsible for how the bank treats its clients,”

“There cannot be any doubt that the treatment of these victims has fallen short of what any clients might reasonably expect and is nothing less than a gross betrayal of the confidence and t1rust they placed in Credit Suisse.”

Commenting on Wednesday’s letter, a spokesman for Credit Suisse said a court last year confirmed that Mr Lescaudron had “violated internal rules and Swiss law, engaged in criminal acts to deceive the bank’s control system, concealed his deceptions from colleagues and was not supported by anyone internally in his criminal acts”.

The spokesperson added that the court “recognised Credit Suisse as the damaged party in this matter” and that the bank “follows a zero tolerance approach regarding misconduct by its employees”.

Separately, Credit Suisse is trying to move on from an explosive spying scandal that led to the resignation of two top executives, including Thiam’s right-hand man Pierre-Olivier Bouee.

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