- BBC News World
A known data leak this weekend revealed that Swiss bank Credit Suisse has been receiving inventory for years from individuals involved in corruption and human rights abuses around the world.
The revelation, which was published simultaneously in newspapers around the world, including Argentina’s La Nación, The New York Times and The Guardian, indicates that the financial bank owns about $ 100 billion worth of those accounts.
The investigation was carried out by a consortium of about 50 media companies that are part of the “Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting” program.
The most pertinent findings point to how a group of Venezuelan executives accused of robbing the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA deposited large sums of money into Credit Suisse accounts.
They include former Deputy Energy Minister Nervis Villalobos and Louis Carlos de Leன்n, former finance director of Electricidad de Caracas.
Accounts have been found in the Philippines in the name of a kidnapper, a Hong Kong stock market boss jailed for taking bribes, a millionaire who ordered the murder of his girlfriend, a Lebanese pop star and a number of politicians accused of corruption. , From Egypt to Ukraine.
The news comes just months after journalists from different countries investigated the leak of nearly 18,000 Swiss bank accounts by an unidentified person to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The so-called “Swiss Confidentiality” investigation also included statements by the person who leaked the documents, calling the Swiss bank’s secrecy laws “immoral.”
For its part, Credit Suisse said in a statement that Switzerland’s strict banking secrecy laws prevent individuals from commenting on claims.
“Credit Suisse rejects Strong allegations and assumptions about the alleged business practices of the bank“, The company said in a statement.
The company also clarified that most of the accounts pointed out in the investigation have already been closed by their owners.
“Issues expressed by reporters are based on selected information taken out of contextThis results in biased interpretations of the bank’s business, “bank sources said.
The Venezuelan case
Credit Suisse received money from customers between 1940 and 2015, according to a report released by the Media Federation linking the complaints made by the “Panama Papers” in 2019 and the “Pandora Papers” in 2021. Not only mega-millionaires, but also those with problematic backgrounds “will know clearly if you do a Google search.”
The report also points out that the financial institution has not heeded the warnings of its own employees about “suspicious activities” in the funds of its customers, such as those accused of corruption around the Venezuelan state oil company.
In this particular case, the Argentine newspaper La Nación points out that “billions of dollars flowed into this bank’s accounts at a time when Venezuela’s public coffers were being emptied.”
Adds: “The company has opened the accounts of these Venezuelan customersEven though his involvement in corruption cases has been exposed in the media. ”
According to another media outlet that was part of the investigation, the Venezuelan website Cocuyo Effect, The list of known data reveals that there are at least 20 Venezuelans linked to “four corruption schemes in the PDVSA”.
These citizens would have deposited about $ 273 million in assets in 25 credit choice accounts.
One of the names mentioned in the report is Nervis Villalobos, Venezuela’s former deputy energy minister, who has been accused of bribing Juicy in various judicial bodies, especially in Spain, between 2001 and 2006.
Villalobos is currently under arrest in Spain and awaiting deportation to the United States, where he faces several corruption charges.
In this regard, the Cocuyo Effect portal illustrates that this background does not prevent “accepting credit choice as a customer”.
Although Villalobos’ account had already been declared closed, Spanish prosecutors were able to confirm that he was a former officer.Was able to pay nearly 25 million US dollars and about 11 million euros“Towards the bank.
Louis Carlos de Leன்n, former finance director of PDVSA’s subsidiary Electricidad de Caracas, is another name revealed in the leak.
De Leon admitted before a US court in 2018 that he was part of a network of corruption within the PDVSA and that the money had gone into a Swiss bank account.
According to the “Report on Organized Crime and Corruption”, De Lyon opened an account at Credit Suisse in 2011, where he handed over assets worth close to $ 20 million.
The BBC contacted Mundo To do Villalobos’ lawyers, however, refused to do so Comments on this information.
The leak also points to other former Venezuelan officials, mediators and businessmen under judicial investigation.
Credit Suisse responded to the intelligence media by pointing out that it did not help its clients’ corrupt practices. Used the most stringent rules against financial crimes.
“I agree Department of Financial Reforms and SwitzerlandCredit Suisse has taken a number of important steps over the past decade, including significant investments in combating financial crime. ”
However, These expressions Has led to doubts about the effective use of anti-financial crime regulations.
While it is true that these rules apply to average accounts, employers are encouraging everyone to “look away” when it comes to “high net worth” clients, according to a report by Swiss company employees to journalists involved in the investigation.
Also stand out are names like Ala and Kamal Mubarak, the sons of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. And Raja abdTo doJordan II.
The case of Stephen Sederhome, a Swedish citizen who opened a bank account in 2008, stands alone. .
The report points out that Cederholm’s account was open and available two years after he was convicted and his case became known around the world.
Another case, according to the investigation, highlights a serious shortcoming in analyzing the origins of the fund or the judicial records of potential clients, including that of a wealthy Egyptian businessman convicted of murdering a Lebanese man in 2009. Singer Susan Tamim.
The report states though Five years have passed since Mustafa’s Credit Suisse account was closed.
For many analysts, the restrictions on sharing banking secrets and financial information of customers who deposit assets in Switzerland could be detrimental to many countries.
According to the Tax Justice Network, cited by a British newspaper DefenderCountries around the world are losing about $ 21 billion in taxes due to Swiss rules.
Who disclosed the relevant documents in that regard Credit Choice He said that was one of the reasons why he decided to “betray” the organization.
“This system places an disproportionate financial and infrastructural burden on developing countries, perpetuating their exclusion from the system in the future,” he said.
He added: “This situation allows corruption and deprives developing countries of much needed tax revenue. So these countries are more vulnerable to the reverse Robin Hood tactic used by Switzerland,” he pointed out.
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