Thursday, December 17, 2009

Credit Suisse to pay $536M to U.S.

Posted on Thursday, 12.17.09
Credit Suisse to pay $536M to U.S.
The financial institution admitted to hiding illegal business it was
doing with Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Burma and Libya.
Bloomberg News

Credit Suisse agreed to pay $536 million to settle claims the bank
helped process payments that let Iran and other nations -- including
Cuba -- avoid government sanctions and gain access to U.S. financial

The Zurich-based bank entered into a deferred prosecution agreement in
settling with the U.S. Justice Department, which said Credit Suisse made
more than $1.6 billion in illegal transactions involving Iran, Sudan,
Burma, Cuba and Libya from the mid-1990s through 2006, according to a
court document filed in Washington Wednesday.

``Credit Suisse will not flout the law again for its own financial
gain,'' Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference. ``We
will be vigilant in enforcing this settlement and in pursuing other
institutions and individuals who engage in similar illegal conduct.''

Without U.S. approval, the bank sent at least 40 outbound payment
messages involving Sudan, 32 related to Cuba and 30 for Burma, the
document said.

Credit Suisse, Lloyds TSB Bank and eight other banks have been
investigated for ``stripping'' wire transfer information to conceal
illegal money transfers. Credit Suisse altered its dollar payments by
removing Iranian names and references from messages and using code words
for sanctioned entities when trading in U.S. securities, according to
court documents. The bank also instructed Iranian customers on how to
format dollar-denominated transactions to evade detection.

``Credit Suisse knew that without such alterations, amendments and code
words, automated (U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign
Assets Control) filters at U.S. clearing banks would likely halt the
payment messages and securities transactions,'' prosecutors said in
charging documents.

The bank told its Iranian clients ``under no circumstances any link to
your good bank or Iran should be mentioned,'' according to a court
document. Instead, Credit Suisse used abbreviations for Iranian customer
names or the phrase ``one of our customers'' to describe the client.

Credit Suisse also made transactions on behalf of Arab Bank for Economic
Development in Africa and Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Co. in
violation of U.S. sanctions.

Credit Suisse to pay $536M to U.S. - Banking - (17
December 2009)

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