Credit Suisse prepares for huge payout to US

Swiss bank Credit Suisse says it expects to pay $536 million (SFr558.3 million) to settle a United States probe into dealings with countries subject to US sanctions.

This content was published on December 16, 2009 - 08:33

The probe has been looking into dollar payments made between 2002 and 2007 with countries, which include North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran.

US-regulated financial institutions are not allowed to do business with sanctioned countries.

In a surprise statement late on Tuesday, Credit Suisse confirmed that it was in “advanced settlement discussions” with the US Justice Department, Federal Reserve, Manhattan district attorney’s office and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Credit Suisse said it took the matter “very seriously” and had improved its procedures to prevent such practices from happening again.

Such a settlement would be the second heavy penalty paid by a Swiss bank to US authorities this year. CS rival UBS agreed in February to pay $780 million to avoid criminal charges for helping about 50,000 rich Americans evade taxes.

In its statement, Credit Suisse did not identify the countries in question but mentioned a previous decision to close its Tehran office.

It added that the expected settlement would likely result in an additional SFr445 million fourth-quarter charge, estimated to be SFr360 million after taxes. and agencies

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