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Conflict of interest? Former Raiffeisen boss Vincenz faces criminal probe

Pierin Vincenz

Vincenz built Raiffeisen up during his tenure as CEO

(Keystone)

Zurich prosecutors have opened criminal proceedings against the former chief executive of Swiss banking group Raiffeisen, Pierin Vincenz, looking into suspicions of misdealing. The bank has also joined the probe as a private complainant.

“Raiffeisen is therefore making a maximum contribution to the complete clarification of all processes,” the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

Vincenz has been dogged by suspicions of conflict of interest during his tenure as Raiffeisen boss, during which he personally invested in subsidiaries of the banking group. There have also been questions surrounding his links to Nadja Ceregato, Raiffeisen’s current chief legal compliance officer, and Vincenz’s wife.

The Swiss financial regulator FINMA recently investigated Vincenz’s fitness to hold office, but was forced to drop the probe when the 61-year-old resigned as chairman of Swiss insurer Helvetia, ending his last active role at a FINMA-regulated company.

The move appeared to end scrutiny of his past actions, until news of the criminal investigation broke on Wednesday. On Thursday, Zurich’s public prosecutor called for Vincenz to be taken into custody. An appeals judge now has until Saturday to decide whether that is appropriate.

In a statement issued by a PR firm, Vincenz said he was “shocked and surprised” by the latest turn of events. Vincenz was CEO at Raiffeisen between 1999 and 2015, during which he built up the profile of the local credit and mortgage lender with stakes in insurance, IT and fintech companies.

Raiffeisen is Switzerland’s third largest banking group after UBS and Credit Suisse and one of four banks that the Swiss financial regulator considers “too big to fail”.

SRF/swissinfo.ch/mga

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