A story of spying, deceit, and suicide has rocked the Swiss banking world and Credit Suisse is right in the middle of it but CEO Tidjane Thiam could be a victim rather than a villain in the whole debacle.
Credit Suisse’s Big Lebowski-esque spy scandal reads like a James Bond movie script yet it is all real and has hurt a lot of people.
Iqbal Khan, a 43-year-old Swiss-Pakistani banker and successful former wealth manager of Credit Suisse left to join rival UBS on Oct. 1. Chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouée was fired in the wake of the scandal.
Zurich-based surveillance firm Investigo was hired by Credit Suisse to follow and spy on Khan who was suspected of wanting to poach several people for the benefit of competitor UBS.
A private security consultant who had helped Bouée organize the spying on Khan apparently killed himself on Sept. 24 once the surveillance operation became public knowledge, according to an announcement from the Swiss bank.
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All eyes have now turned to Thiam, a non-banker and dual citizen of France and Ivory Coast, whose relationship with Khan deteriorated after Khan was overlooked for the top job in favor of the Ivorian.
Thiam was selected to head Credit Suisse in 2015 when the Swiss bank was facing increased regulatory scrutiny for helping Americans evade taxes via secret bank accounts.
The bank reached a $2.5 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over the matter.
Thiam has so far managed to lift the bank’s fortunes, turning a profit and proving critics wrong after initial doubts over his appointment.
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