After two U.S. Senators (Jeanne Shaheen D-NH and Sheldon Whitehouse D-RI) demanded big banks disclose any links to rich Russians under U.S. sanctions, Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said that Swiss bank Credit Suisse complies with U.S. Treasury sanctions wherever it does business. The Democrat Senators pressuring banks to comply with Russian sanctions aims at keeping banking institutions honest. Democrats in the United States believe Putin’s interference helped Donald Trump become president.
Thiam told reporters at the bank’s quarterly results news conference on Wednesday:
I can’t comment on the (senators’ request). But what I can tell you is we are in full compliance with every regulation in every jurisdiction we are present in. When there are sanctions, we are fully compliant with the sanctions, of course, and we have invested a lot of resources in continuously upgrading our ability to monitor.
Swiss banks practically never comment on individual clients given confidentiality laws that helped make Switzerland the world’s biggest center for managing offshore wealth.
The neutral country has now begun to exchange information on bank clients with foreign tax authorities.
The Senators have written to U.S.-based Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank as well as European groups Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse.
Their letter requested that bank officials deliver any details related to any accounts, assets or services the institutions provide to any of the 96 Russians close to Vladimir Putin named on the Treasury Department’s “oligarchs list”.
The Trump administration announced sanctions on Russia on April 6, responding to what U.S. intelligence agencies say was Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and other adversarial actions by Moscow.
UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said this week U.S. sanctions on Russians were having only a limited impact on its business. UBS is the world’s biggest wealth manager.
Reuters contributed to this story.