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June 1, 2020

Credit Suisse appeals to top court over auditor appointment in spying scandal

Swiss banking group Credit Suisse has appealed to the highest court to review the lawyer appointed by FINMA for looking into its spying scandal.

The bank sought to challenge FINMA’s appointment of Thomas Werlen, a partner at US law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, as an independent counsel.

Credit Suisse believed that Werlen lacked adequate independence and appealed to Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court earlier this year.

However, the Federal Court rejected the claims.

“Quinn Emanuel does not meet the legal requirement of independence because it is engaged in numerous legal proceedings against the bank,” Credit Suisse stated.\

Background

The spying affair, revealed last year, involved the surveillance of Credit Suisse former head of wealth management Iqbal Khan, his wife and child across the streets of Zurich.

The move happened in the wake of Khan’s defection to rival UBS.

An internal investigation blamed Credit Suisse COO Pierre-Olivier Bouée responsible for the spying operation, thereby leading to his ouster. Bouée was replaced by James Walker.

There was no evidence that Khan made any attempt to coax Credit Suisse employees to follow him to UBS.

The probe absolved CEO Tidjane Thiam from the scandal. Despite that, Thiam stepped down from his role earlier this month and was replaced by Thomas Gottstein.

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