Credit Suisse faces criminal charges over money-laundering for cocaine cartel

The Swiss prosecutor has filed an indictment against the country’s second-largest bank for failing to tackle money-laundering practices connected to drug trafficking by a Bulgarian criminal syndicate.

Credit Suisse is accused of “failing to take all the organizational measures that were reasonable and required to prevent the laundering of assets belonging to and under the control of the criminal organization,” according to a statement by the Office of the Swiss Attorney General.

The criminal cartel, reportedly established by a top Bulgarian wrestler, was embroiled in international sales of cocaine and large-scale money laundering of proceeds. The cash made from the drug trafficking was allegedly used for purchasing real estate in Switzerland and Bulgaria.

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The proceeds were reportedly routed into bank accounts in Switzerland controlled by the criminal cartel from 2004 until 2007, according to the prosecutor’s office. Procedures for opening and monitoring accounts by Credit Suisse employees and superiors didn’t comply with the anti-money-laundering provisions in force as well as with the bank’s internal directives.

The indictments, filed against a former Credit Suisse manager and two members of the criminal organization, came after a 12-year investigation. The Zurich-based lender rejected the allegations.

“The bank rejects the allegations about supposed organizational deficiencies and intends to defend itself vigorously,” Credit Suisse said, adding that it is convinced its former employee is innocent.

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