Credit Suisse Settles with Iqbal Khan to Close Spying Scandal That Took CEO's Scalp

Swiss wealth bank Credit Suisse said it has reached settlement with a former banker who had flipped the lid off a spying scandal that rocked the bank and led to the ouster of top executives.

Iqbal Khan, a senior banker with Credit Suisse, had levelled allegations of spying on him in mid-2020, after he confronted a private detective who followed him and his wife in Zurich.

Credit Suisse ousted chief executive Tidjane Thiam though the bank exonerated him of involvement in the spying. A few months after Khan accused the bank of spying, it emerged that yet another executive had been spied on.

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It had emerged that the detectives who followed Khan were hired by one of Thiam's deputies, Pierre-Olivier Bouee. An internal probe blamed Bouee for the spying scandal.

Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse Wikimedia Commons

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The agreement ends the dispute that rocked the normally sedate world of Swiss banking when allegations of corporate espionage involving Credit Suisse emerged in September 2019.

The affair became public when Khan, after defecting to UBS, confronted a private detective who was following him and his wife through Zurich.

What Credit Suisse initially described as a rogue spying case run by then-Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee widened as details emerged of other instances of surveillance.

As well as the departures of Bouee and Thiam, a private investigator who organised the surveillance committed suicide after the affair came to light.

The NZZ am Sonntag said the settlement would see the withdrawal of the complaints Khan had filed against the bank and the private detectives.

"The investigations associated with the criminal charges will be discontinued," Erich Wenzinger, spokesman for the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in the Canton of Zurich, told the newspaper.

Enforcement proceedings by Swiss financial markets FINMA last year into Credit Suisse's actions were still ongoing, a spokesman said. He declined to comment on how long the process, which started last September, would last.