Credit Suisse Settles FCPA Offenses

Credit Suisse Group AG settled with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on $76.7 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) offenses.  According to the DOJ, Credit Suisse was involved in a hiring scheme that favored friends and family of Chinese officials in order to win their banking business.  The Hong Kong unit of Credit Suisse will pay $47 million for hiring over 100 employees recommended and requested by foreign officials which violates the FCPA’s anti-bribery and internal accounting controls provisions.  In addition, the Zurich unit disgorged almost $24.9 million in profits and more than $4.8 million in prejudgment interest.

Credit Suisse announced the DOJ and Security Exchange Commision (SEC) investigation in February 2018.  The Chief of the SEC’s FCPA unit, Charles Cain, said that bribery can be in many forms including granting employment.  Moreover, the Hong Kong unit did not discipline employees who were acting out of conduct.

This bribery scheme is the epitome of nepotism exchanging the employment of unqualified individuals for profitable business deals.  However, this issue in the banking industry is not uncommon.  Bribery schemes that encompass the trade of employment for business has occurred on multiple recent occasions in other financial institutions.  JPMorgan Chase, BNY Mellon, and Qualcomm Inc. all paid SEC penalties to settle similar FCPA offenses as well.


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