Credit Suisse said it had reported one of its former bankers to police after uncovering a fraud in the African arm of its wealth management unit earlier this year.
The individual, who worked in the bank’s flagship International Wealth Management division in Zurich, was dismissed by the bank when the fraud was discovered in the first quarter.
The banker had forged documents relating to a SFr10m over-the-counter transaction involving clients in Africa, according to a person familiar with the matter. Credit Suisse is fully compensating the clients for losses incurred.
Prosecutors in the canton of Zurich, where Credit Suisse is headquartered, have not issued charges against the individual concerned.
“Credit Suisse confirms a case from the first quarter of 2020 in which a small number of clients were affected by unauthorised actions of a client adviser,” the bank said. “Credit Suisse took appropriate legal measures and informed the affected clients and relevant regulators.”
Details of the fraud were first reported on Friday by Bloomberg.
Though small, the incident comes at a sensitive time for the bank, which under new chief executive Thomas Gottstein, is pushing to overhaul its financial risk-management controls.
Mr Gottstein took over the leadership of Credit Suisse in the wake of a corporate spying scandal which claimed the scalp of former chief executive Tidjane Thiam earlier this year, following months of embarrassing headlines for the bank.
The affair focused on a surveillance operation authorised by senior Credit Suisse executives against the former head of its wealth management division, Iqbal Khan. Mr Khan subsequently departed and was hired by arch rival UBS.
The incident struck a nerve for Zurich’s notoriously staid, and private, financial community, drawing damning criticism of Credit Suisse — a national institution held in high esteem by many Swiss.
More recently, the bank has had to contend with the fallout from the Wirecard scandal. In the months before the Dax-listed company was exposed as a fraud, the Swiss bank helped to sell more than €900m in convertible bonds issued by the German payments group to investors.
Mr Gottstein has so far won plaudits for his first six months in charge.
Credit Suisse has performed strongly during the coronavirus pandemic. Pre-tax income at the bank jumped 19 per cent in the quarter to the end of June, driven largely by a robust performance in the Swiss domestic market.
The 56-year-old Swiss national was also praised for his role in putting together Switzerland’s highly successful bailout package for small- and medium-sized businesses struggling in the early months of the Covid crisis.
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