24 February 2020News

Credit Suisse Life ordered to release documents related to $1bn fraud

The Supreme Court of Bermuda has ordered Credit Suisse Life (CSL), the Bermuda insurance division of Credit Suisse, to turn over documents to victims of an estimated $1 billion fraud carried out by CSL personnel over seven years.

The documents include emails between Credit Suisse employees during the fraud and details of the transactions which led directly to estimated losses of $400m on the life insurance policies.

The ruling follows a similar decision by a federal court in New York.

Credit Suisse has also been ordered to provide details of the PwC internal report into the crime which Metigen, a law firm representing a number of the victims, said the bank has refused to share with the affected clients.

The documents also concern the fees and commissions paid to other divisions of Credit Suisse as a result of illegal activity on the life accounts. The Chief Justice’s preliminary view was that CSL should pay the costs of the two-day hearing, which involved cross-examination of the bank's Swiss law experts by English leading counsel.

A spokesperson for Metigen accused Credit Suisse of fighting to withhold information relating to “brazen fraud committed by its own employee for almost a decade.”

“It has been clear for some time that there are fundamental flaws in Credit Suisse's corporate culture and failures at the highest level,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added: "We are delighted with the ruling and look forward to Credit Suisse's full compliance with the court's decision. Credit Suisse has continually flouted its obligations to discover all relevant documents, and has tried to hide behind Swiss law in actively trying to prevent our clients' efforts to uncover the truth behind the huge losses and the failures of Credit Suisse entities to prevent the same.”

Credit Suisse is already reeling from the resignation of CEO Tidjane Thiam on February 7, amid reports of spying and a power struggle with chairman Urs Rohner.  Thomas Gottstein, who ran the bank’s Swiss operations, has been appointed the new CEO with a brief to clear up the Bank's culture.