The Geneva Labour Court has ruled that the dismissal of a former Credit Suisse banker who managed United States clients was unfair. He was sacked after the bank was convicted for helping tax evaders in the US.
In a judgment dated April 4, Credit Suisse was ordered to pay the banker CHF4 million ($4 million). It will also have to pay all costs related to the former employee's trial in the US which his lawyers estimate amounts to more than CHF8 million.
The court ruled that Switzerland’s second largest bank acted in a “questionable manner” as it "first tolerated and even encouraged the plaintiff to break the rules in order to develop its clientele and profits in the North American market". When the American authorities started cracking down on Credit Suisse the bank “did not hesitate to protect its own interests and sacrifice those of the complainant".
At a US Senate hearing in 2014, former Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan blamed “rogue employees” for the bank’s tax evasion misconduct.
The same year Credit Suisse had dismissed the Geneva-based bank manager because of repeated and regular breaches of internal directives on soliciting American clients. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in the US, according to the Le Temps newspaper. He intends to appeal the charges at a future US trial, where he will plead not guilty.
In 2014, Credit Suisse was fined more than $2.6 billion (CHF2.3 billion) after pleading guilty to criminal charges of helping American clients to evade taxes. The bank admitted to a US court that it set up sham companies to enable clients to unlawfully funnel assets away from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).