It shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has been following the Swiss criminal trial of a Bulgarian wrestler-turned-cocaine trafficker, but Credit Suisse has officially replaced Deutsche Bank as Europe's most unrepentant recidivist bank.
And although this isn't technically illegal (at least not in any obvious way), CS has found itself on the receiving end of more embarrassing headlines claiming that the Swiss bank has asked hedge funds and other clients to destroy documents pertaining to the yachts and jets of some of its wealthiest clients. According to the FT, the bank made the request because it was concerned about information about its private banking unit - which has made loans to oligarchs under US sanctions - leaking out.
To be sure, the CS has denied these reports - or rather, insisted that the requested document destruction was related to non-disclosure agreements tied to its business.
"Credit Suisse’s entitlement to request non-participating investors to destroy documents relating to this transaction was, as is market practice, stipulated under the Non-Disclosure Agreement," the company said in the release.
"Documents shared with investors did not contain any client names and/or asset identifiers by the blind pool nature of the transaction."
But that doesn't change the fact that the FT, citing three sources who had confirmed the details, confirmed that the deal in question involved offloading the risks from $2 billion in loans to a group of hedge funds post-securitization. The FT published more details about the original deal last month.
Investors this week received letters from the Swiss bank requesting that they destroy the documents relating to a securitisation of loans backed by “jets, yachts, real estate and/or financial assets”, according to three people whose firm received the request. The letters tell the investors to “destroy and permanently erase” any confidential information Credit Suisse previously provided in relation to the transaction, citing a “recent data leak to the media” that it said had been "verified by our investigators".
One of the FT's sources said they had never seen a request quite like CS's in this instance.
"I don’t think we’ve ever had a request like this," said one investor who received the letter, noting that his firm had only ever received similar notices when it had been sent confidential documents accidentally.
The attempt by the bank to stop clients from leaking information followed the "Suisse Secrets" leak, which landed last month. That leak detailed some $100 billion in assets held by "spies, strongmen and criminals."
Credit Suisse quietly closed the jet and yacht securitisation deal at the end of 2021, offering an annual interest rate in excess of 11 per cent to entice a handful of hedge funds into the transaction.
Ironically, that's also the interest rate being offered on Ukrainian war bonds, another batch of which the Ukrainian government is hoping to issue next week.