Credit Suisse Implicated in Laundering Cocaine Money

Credit Suisse is in hot water after evidence has arisen that the Swiss bank failed to identify and prevent acts of Bulgarian money laundering associated with a cocaine ring.  The first major drug-related money laundering implication of a global bank since HSBC in 2012.

The case involves large sums of cash that the bank accepted between the years 2004 and 2008. Judges ruled that the bank undertook serious negligence in failing to identify red flags such as huge sums of money being brought into the bank as while as two assassinations during the time frame which should have hinted at potential criminal activity.

The court also found that the bank failed in several ways during this period regarding management with client relations as well as the implementation of current compliance regulations associated with anti-money laundering standards. A former Bulgarian tennis star known as Elena Pampoulova-Bergomi, who was also a relationship manager for the bank at the time, was also found guilty of money laundering. The tennis player would regularly accept suitcases of 500,000 euros including one from an individual who was later assassinated in 2005.

One of Pampoulova-Bergomi’s notable relationships was with a former Bulgarian wrestler known as Evelin Banev who ended up being at the head of the cocaine ring. In 2017 Banev was convicted of drug trafficking in Italy and later convicted for money laundering in 2018 within Bulgaria.

This is the first time that a Swiss bank has been subject to criminal proceedings and judges have imposed a fine worth 18.6 million euros. Credit Suisse has stated that it will appeal against the court's ruling stating that the bank has continuously monitored and updated its anti-money laundering strategy.

Source: Wall Street Journal