Reports said that leaked data shows that until recently, Swiss bank Credit Suisse held accounts valued at more than $100 billion for sanctioned individuals and heads of state reportedly accused of money laundering.
It has been reported that the data leak included more than 18,000 bank accounts. The data goes back to accounts that were open from the 1940s until into the 2010s, but not current operations. King Abdullah has been accused of misappropriating financial aid for his own personal benefit, while Villalobos pleaded guilty to money laundering in 2018.
Other sanctioned individuals also held accounts at Credit Suisse. They said:
“Other account holders included sons of a Pakistani intelligence chief who helped funnel billions of dollars from the United States and other countries to the (Mujahideen) in Afghanistan in the 1980s.”
However, Banteg, the lead developer at Yearn Finance (YFI), leading decentralized finance (DeFi) yield farming platform tweeted, “Credit Suisse AML happily hosted human traffickers, murderers, and corrupt officials.” Commenters took note of HSBC, another huge international bank that has paid hefty fines for aiding serious international criminals.
The report said that although there are laws in place that prohibit Swiss banks from accepting deposits from known criminals, the country’s famous bank secrecy laws make it easy to evade if they are enforced at all.
The New York Times wrote:
“The leak shows that Credit Suisse opened accounts for and continued to serve not only the ultrawealthy but also people whose problematic backgrounds would have been obvious to anyone who ran their names through a search engine.”
Likewise, the irony of a major traditional financial institution aiding high criminals was not lost on the cryptocurrency community, which has battled against accusations of abetting criminals for years.
The $100 billion in deposits outlined by the data leak dwarfs the $25 billion estimated by Chainalysis to be held by criminal crypto whales as of 2021. The bank has denied any wrongdoing, but the centralized clandestine way in which Credit Suisse has operated contrasts with fully transparent blockchain technology.
Thus, such transparency may also mean that investigators and law enforcement can keep tabs on individuals and governments that are trying to evade economic sanctions in real-time.