Credit Suisse has been found guilty and fined for its role in money laundering in connection with a Bulgarian drug ring.
The bank did not do enough to prevent members of the crime syndicate from profiting from the trafficking of cocaine into Europe, according to Switzerland’s criminal court.
It was fined around £1.7 million and ordered to pay the Swiss government £15 million.
The bank denies any wrongdoing and has stated that it will appeal the ruling.
Elena Pampoulova-Bergomi, a former Bulgarian tennis player who worked at the bank for a time, was found guilty of money laundering by Switzerland’s highest criminal court and received a 20-month suspended prison sentence. Her £1.7 million fine has also been suspended.
The court heard testimony about the bank’s role in accepting millions of Euros in bank deposits between 2004 and 2008, which is described as “replete with red flags.” According to prosecutors, Pampoulova-Bergomi had an informal financial relationship with former Bulgarian wrestler Evelin Banev, who was a key figure in a European cocaine smuggling ring. According to the court, the former tennis player regularly collected bags “full of cash” – some amounting to £400,000 – from people known to the wrestler.
“The court discovered deficiencies within the bank… in the management of client relationships with the criminal organization.”
“These deficiencies enabled the criminal organization’s assets to be withdrawn,” the court wrote in a statement.
The Swiss court also heard drug-related testimony.
In addition, the Swiss court heard testimony about the drug trafficking gang’s activities, including murder.
Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, maintains its innocence. It is the first time that a Swiss bank has faced such criminal charges.
The bank stated in a statement that it is “constantly testing its anti-money-laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time, following evolving regulatory standards.”
Credit Suisse shares fell 0.7 percent in afternoon trading on Monday but finished the day up 0.4 percent.