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Banking Woes Raiffeisen CEO resigns amid scandal over his predecessor

A picture of Patrik Gisel

Gisel had come under fire in connection with the bank’s former chief executive, Pierin Vincenz who is facing an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged fraud. 

(© KEYSTONE / WALTER BIERI)

Patrik Gisel, chief executive officer of the Raiffeisen bank, has resigned from his position over criticism related to the bank’s former boss Pierin Vincenz, who is facing criminal proceedings for suspected corporate fraud.

Gisel will leave his post at Switzerland’s third-largest bank by the end of the year.

His decision to step down was taken to end the debate about him and to protect the bank’s reputation, announced the Raiffeisen Group in a statementexternal link on Wednesday.

Gisel had come under fire in connection with the bank’s former chief executive, Pierin Vincenz who is facing an ongoing criminal investigation into alleged fraud, which he denies committing.

Gisel was Vincenz’s deputy at the time when the alleged offences are said to have been committed.

The Zurich public prosecutor’s office had placed Vincenz in custody for fifteen weeks earlier in the year, to prevent him from communicating with the accused individuals.

The 61-year-old 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.

Corporate governance

Following Vincenz’s arrest, Raiffeisen faced proceedings last year from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

+ Financial watchdog accuses Raiffeisen of major governance failings

FINMA foundexternal link that the bank’s handling of the conflicts of interest had been “inadequate”.

It said that the board of the scandal-hit bank should have controlled its CEO more.

In March, the chairman of the board of directors, Johannes Rüegg-Stürm also resigned from his position following proceedings against Vincenz. The Board of Directors of Raiffeisen Switzerland had opened the selection process for a new CEO, it said in the statement.

But the integrity of Patrik Gisel remained “above doubt”, Raiffeisen wrote in the statement.

Neither the FINMA probe which concluded in June, nor the interim results of the ongoing independent investigation into the “Pierin Vincenz era” had placed a regulatory burden on Gisel, it said.

SDA-ATS/ln

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