Credit Suisse is accused of helping to launder BRL 509 billion; value is 300% higher than cryptocurrency crimes

One of the main “arguments” used against Bitcoin (BTC) is that the cryptocurrency allegedly facilitates crimes. However, one of Switzerland’s biggest banks is accused of having $100 billion in funds from organized crime. This is Credit Suisse, a bank that had data from 18,000 accounts leaked over the weekend. According to this data, the accounts are associated with different types of criminals. From common scammers to dictators, Credit Suisse would have sheltered them all. Based on the current dollar exchange rate, the value corresponds to R$ 509 billion. And contrary to BTC critics, the sum is 300% greater than the value in cryptocurrencies that are in the hands of criminals. Credit Suisse denies the allegation.

Decades relationship

The data was revealed by an anonymous source who shared the information with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper then convened a consortium made up of 46 other media outlets from around the world. According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Whistleblower Project, the accounts were opened between 1940 and 2010. About 67% of the accounts were opened from the 2000s onwards and many of them are active to this day. And the supposed list is not the least bit enviable. Account holders include a Yemeni spy chief implicated in torture, Venezuelan officials involved in a corruption scandal and the sons of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. There are also numerous heads of state and government, including several dictators, as customers of the bank. Drug dealers, stock exchange bosses accused of fraud and even pop music stars are also on the list.

Security checks failed

The leak of information from Switzerland’s second largest bank reveals two due diligence failures. First, the well-known Swiss bank secrecy was clearly violated. If this leak affected large accounts, the rest of the customers probably won’t be unharmed. Second – and an even more serious fact – there was a failure to check the background of potential customers. After all, one of the common procedures in banks is the fight against money laundering through AML checks. In this case, the flaws were widespread and allowed thousands of criminals to hide the fruit of their theft. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that fraudsters could have opened or maintained accounts even “if the bank could have known for a long time that it was dealing with criminals”. According to Credit Suisse officials, there was a culture of maximizing the bank’s profits at any cost. That way, executive bonuses would also increase. As a result, background check procedures were often overlooked or even ignored.

Bank denies accusations

Credit Suisse issued an official statement regarding the case. In the document, the bank “strongly rejects” the allegations made about its business practices. According to Credit Suisse, 90% of the accounts were already closed or in the process of being closed before the data leak.

“The stories presented are predominantly historical, in some cases dating back to the 1940s, and the accounts for these stories are based on partial, inaccurate or selective information, taken out of context, resulting in biased interpretations of the bank’s business conduct,” the bank said.

However, it should be noted that most of these accounts have been active for years – possibly decades – without anyone knowing of their existence. No prior audit or investigation process has revealed the existence of these accounts. Unlike this centralization, the theft of 120,000 BTC from the Bitfinex exchange was resolved precisely because of the transparency of the blockchain. Since the August 2016 attack, BTC has been fully tracked and has even been marked as coming from the attack. And as CriptoFácil reported, the hackers were finally located and arrested just six years after the attack. About 75% of the stolen BTC has been recovered and is now awaiting a destination. In short, both cases illustrate that BTC is not an effective tool for organized crime. So much so that it is not used for this purpose: only 3.7% of large cryptocurrency addresses are used to commit crimes. The Credit Suisse case alone involved 300% more money from criminal activity than the entire cryptocurrency market. Read also: ETH and ADA could fall by up to 50%, warns trader Read also: Ethereum miners are losing more and more money Read also: Manchester City builds first football stadium in the metaverse with help from Sony