Paper reports new surveillance case involving Credit Suisse executive

In October of this year the bank cleared Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam of snooping on former wealth management boss Iqbal Khan in an episode that saw suicide, scandal and espionage invade the secretive world of Swiss private banking. © Keystone / Ennio Leanza

A senior Credit Suisse human resources executive was tailed by private investigators in February, the Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper reported on Tuesday. 

NZZ/Reuters/sb

The Swiss bank was rocked by a highly damaging spygate case earlier this year involving the surveillance of former wealth management boss Iqbal Khan.

On Tuesday NZZ claimed it had seen documents and photographs that it said proved the surveillance of former human resources head Peter Goerke in February, prior to him leaving the bank’s management board to become a senior adviser at Credit Suisse.

“The circumstances indicate that it was Credit Suisse that via a go-between gave the mandate for this surveillance,” NZZ said. 

The paper said the “Project Küsnacht” surveillance operation cost CHF12,000 and involved four cars with two detectives each. The objective was to monitor Goerke, who had followed Thiam to Credit Suisse from British insurer Prudential, to see where he went and whom he met. It said it was unclear why Goerke was tailed.

In response to the allegation, Credit Suisse said it would carry out both an internal and independent assessment of the NZZ claims.

“Credit Suisse is examining the new information as revealed by the media in internal and external reviews,” a spokesman told Reuters.

Earlier, the bank had referred the newspaper to an investigation into the Iqbal Khan spygate case. A law firm that carried out the probe had turned up no evidence that any other Credit Suisse employee had been observed.

Damaging spygate incident

In October of this year the bank cleared Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam of snooping on Khan in an episode that saw suicide, scandal and espionage invade the secretive world of Swiss private banking. 

Khan, who left Switzerland's second-biggest bank in July and began work at UBS, was under surveillance by private detectives hired by Credit Suisse from September 4-17, when he spotted them. 

News of a rift between Thiam and Khan prior to the latter's departure prompted speculation over reasons for the surveillance. 

A private investigator who organised the surveillance committed suicide in September. 

The bank's chairman, Urs Rohner, said a personal dispute between Khan and Thiam, which had made it impossible for the two to work together, had prompted Khan's departure but had been unrelated to the hiring of detectives. 

The bank has insisted it was an isolated incident and blamed a lone executive who stepped down from the bank in October. The Credit Suisse board called the spying operation "wrong and disproportionate" in a statement, adding it had caused severe reputational damage for the bank. 

The criminal investigation of the spying operation continues.

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