Credit-Suisse Director rips off dying customer – if it looks like a duck:
Serious allegations in the Swiss press regarding how a Credit-Suisse Director enriched herself by allegedly purloining over 100’000 Swiss Francs from a terminally ill barely compos mentis customer in order to finance her horse hobby.
The director of a Credit-Suisse branch in Bern had her terminally ill customer (who shortly after died) transfer over 100,000 Swiss Francs to her. The Director claims the payments were given to her as “gifts”, although Credit-Suisse claims to have compliance rules that prevent employees accepting anything other than symbolic gifts in order to avoid conflicts of interest. The de Minimis limit is usually a bottle of wine. Even in the private sector, large gifts are not allowed. In the case of banks in particular, their “Code of Conduct” normally clearly regulates the form and conditions under which gifts may be accepted. "If it is a question of ordinary gifts, that is, a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of red wine in the normal price segment, there is no problem," says Peter V. Kunz, managing director of the Institute for Business Law at the University of Bern. „But it gets tricky with exceptionally generous gifts. Because: Donations can lead to conflicts of interest", continues Kunz. „There is a risk that the customer advisor will no longer act in the interests of the customer. Gifts influence the customer relationship - which can lead to irregularities."
The woman who died shortly after was on strong medication at the time of the “donation”. Though the Credit-Suisse director insists the money transfer was given as a gift, the old lady’s sole heir knew nothing of this.
It is customary in the banking industry, and with most companies that gifts of money are only allowed up to CHF 200, anything more may be construed a bribe, or in a case like this, theft. The Credit-Suisse Director personally looked after the victim’s accounts for years. The deceased woman made her nephew the sole heir in 2015. In a precautionary mandate, the nephew was also chosen as an authorized representative should his aunt one day be unable to look after herself. Credit-Suisse never informed him about the „gifts“ his aunt allegedly made shortly before her death. Obviously raising suspicions. "My aunt was practically blind, and in the last months before her death she was under very strong medication," he stated. He is fully aware of the situation because as a medical doctor he looked after his aunt every day and accompanied her until she died from cancer. She never mentioned the 100‘000+ Swiss Francs "gift“.
The doctor further stated "At the time when my aunt supposedly made the donation of 100,000 Swiss Francs, she was on strong opioids - suffered from confusion and was often hardly responsive," Therefore the doubts are justified as to whether the deceased aunt actually „gave“ the money to the Credit-Suisse director. "Either way, it is extremely strange that a bank director would have 100,000 Swiss Francs “given” to her - without consulting relatives and without a donation agreement." Additionally, when Credit Suisse shares hit a low in the corona-related stock market crash in March 2020, 2’300 registered shares worth around 20,000 Swiss Francs were purchased from the seriously ill woman's account. For the doctor, this is another indication that something off: "Why should my aunt speculate on the stock exchanges shortly before her death?”
Credit Suisse’s response is even stranger; they remain uncommunicative and unhelpful in this matter. This is not the only allegation active at the moment involving Credit Suisse employees plundering client assets, either their accounts or safety deposit boxes. Credit-Suisse unfortunately takes the path it seems of deniability which perhaps just compounds the issue.
At the end of September, the nephew reported the incident to the whistleblower office at Credit Suisse. This is a rather naive move. Surely the whistleblower office is there to protect Credit-Suisse and surprisingly, as the doctor notes, “The bank does not want to talk to me about whether bank employees are allowed to accept such large amounts of gifts without a donation agreement. They still want to explain to me how they made sure that my aunt actually wanted to make the gifts." This should be a no-brainer for Credit-Suisse.
Credit-Suisse, which has been completely released from the obligation of confidentiality by the heir, also does not want to explain itself to the press. A perfect positive public-relations opportunity missed to prove their honesty, transparency and good governance. Not to mention a sorry indictment of the banks "Compliance“ function.
A Credit Suisse spokesperson stated: “Credit-Suisse carries out internal investigations to get to the bottom of the facts. We also investigate indications of possible misconduct and, if necessary, take the necessary measures." The bank however remains silent on the question of whether it is not against the bank's internal rules to accept gifts of money in this amount. (Credit-Suisse is putting themselves in a very bad light!)
The bank director is also laying low and avoiding the press.
The complainant is now working with his lawyer on a case that he wants to file with the Swiss Banking Ombudsman. "We are also examining further steps in terms of criminal law," said the nephew. We hope that the Swiss Banking Ombudsman is not just an extension of the large Swiss banks aimed at protecting the castle, but is truly an independent investigative force.
As always, the presumption of innocence applies to the CS director.
If you are a customer of Credit-Suisse, and these plunder allegations prove to be true, all things considered, you have to ask yourself: is this the partner you want to be looking after your hard earned nest egg assets, and risk your heirs being cheated out of their inheritance?
If you have had, or know of similar experiences that have not been reported, we will be happy provide you a link to appropriate journalists. Write us at email@example.com