Feb 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biggest leak ever from a major Swiss bank

Cover of the guardian

Cover: The Guardian

A massive leak of 70 years of data from Credit Suisse, one of the world's biggest private banks, exposes hidden wealth in 18,000+ accounts that collectively hold more than $100 billion, a reporting consortium reveals in newspapers around the world.

Driving the news: Some of the clients and former clients are accused of "torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes," The Guardian reports.

Why it matters: "Switzerland's draconian banking secrecy laws have made it nearly impossible for other governments or journalists to hold the industry to account," reports the consortium, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

"The leak shows that Credit Suisse opened accounts for people whose problematic backgrounds would have been obvious to anyone who ran their names through a search engine," The New York Times reports.

  • Credit Suisse responded that it "rejects the allegations ... The matters presented are predominantly historical, in some cases dating back as far as the 1960s."

The backstory: German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung received the data anonymously through a secure digital mailbox over a year ago, from a source who said that "Swiss banking secrecy laws are immoral."

The big picture: "The leak follows the so-called Panama Papers in 2016, the Paradise Papers in 2017 and the Pandora Papers last year. They all shed light on the secretive workings of banks, law firms and offshore financial-services providers," The Times notes.

Go deeper: The key findings (OCCRP)

Go deeper