Credit Suisse has reacted angrily after a significant data breach revealed the bank’s clients’ hidden riches. A whistleblower revealed data on more than 18,000 bank accounts holding more than $100 billion (£73.6 billion) to the German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung. Personal, shared, corporate accounts, and even those dating back to the 1940s are all included.
According to investigations done by almost 50 media organizations, Credit Suisse accounts were revealed to have been used by clients involved in major crimes such as money laundering and drug trafficking. However, the Swiss bank denied the claims, saying it “strongly rejects” the charges and insinuations about its purported business operations or lack of due diligence.
“The matters presented are predominantly historical, in some cases dating back as far as the 1940s, and the accounts of these matters are based on partial, inaccurate, or selective information taken out of context”, it said.
As per reports published by media outlets such as The Guardian and the New York Times, the bank established or maintained accounts for high-risk clientele, including criminals and human trafficking victims. It is not unlawful to have a Swiss bank account, and the data leaked included data from people who had done nothing wrong.
The data was shared with more than 40 media organizations worldwide by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a non-profit journalistic organization. It covers bank accounts from decades ago. Most accounts were opened after 2000, although the bank’s ongoing activities are not mentioned. Credit Suisse also stated on Sunday that it has looked into many accounts that might be linked to the issues identified.
“Approximately 90% of the reviewed accounts are today closed or were in the process of closure prior to receipt of the press inquiries, of which over 60% were closed before 2015,” it said, even though it would not comment on articular clients referenced. The bank further stated that it was “deeply aware of its responsibility to clients and the financial system as a whole to ensure that the highest standards of conduct are upheld.”
The unidentified source described their purpose for sharing the documents more than a year ago in a statement released by German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung. It’s unclear whether the whistleblower is a single person or a group.