One of the world’s biggest bank is to pay a $47 million criminal penalty to the U.S. Department of Justice and a $30 million settlement to the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) over corruption charges.
SEC says Credit Suisse “obtained investment banking business in the Asia-Pacific region by corruptly influencing foreign officials in violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”
The revolving door schemes of bribery for hire led to the Swiss bank employing more than 100 individuals at the request of foreign government officials, resulting in millions of dollars of business revenue.
Reuters says they corruptly won “banking business by awarding jobs to friends and family of Chinese government officials.”
SEC, however, does not name the foreign government nor any individuals. There will be no actual criminal charges. No one will go to prison for violating the anti-bribery and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. SEC says:
“Several senior Credit Suisse managers in the Asia-Pacific region sought to win business by hiring and promoting individuals connected to government officials as part of a quid pro quo arrangement.
While this practice bypassed the firm’s normal hiring process, employees in other Credit Suisse subsidiaries and affiliates were aware of it and in some instances approved these ‘relationship hires’ or ‘referral hires.’
The SEC’s order found that in a seven-year period, Credit Suisse hired more than 100 employees at the request of foreign government officials, resulting in millions of dollars of business revenue.”
Just how many million dollars they do not say, but the fine is just a fraction of Credit Suisse’s $4 billion profits for 2017.
“Bribery can take many forms, including granting employment to friends and relatives of government officials,” Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, says.
Complaints of revolving doors corruption are often heard in the United States and the west more widely, but rarely is anyone held to account, even by a fine.
The reason may well be because those tasked with enforcing it, are the ones benefiting from it. So it appears it takes a foreign government for any action to be taken.