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Credit Suisse to Pay SEC $30M for Corruption Charges

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The Securities and Exchange Commission says Credit Suisse Group AG will pay about $30 million to resolve charges that it obtained investment banking business in the Asia-Pacific region by corruptly influencing foreign officials in violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

This development comes about one month after Credit Suisse agreed to pay a $47 million criminal penalty to the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to the SEC, several senior Credit Suisse managers in the Asia-Pacific region sought to win business by hiring and promoting more than100 individuals connected to government officials over a seven-year period as part of a quid pro quo arrangement, bypassing the firm’s normal hiring process and resulting in millions of dollars of business revenue.

Employees in other Credit Suisse subsidiaries and affiliates were aware of and in some instances approved these “relationship hires” or “referral hires,” regulators say.

According to a Bloomberg report, the Hong Kong office of Credit Suisse facilitated the hiring of some sons and daughters of Chinese government officials who lacked the required skills.

“Bribery can take many forms, including granting employment to friends and relatives of government officials.  Credit Suisse’s practice of engaging in these hiring practices violated the law, and it is now being held to account for having done so,” said Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, in a statement.

The SEC’s order finds that Credit Suisse violated the anti-bribery and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Credit Suisse agreed to pay disgorgement of $24.9 million plus $4.8 million in interest to settle the SEC’s case.

“Credit Suisse is pleased to have reached an agreement with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. With the previously announced U.S. Department of Justice settlement, this puts this legacy matter behind the bank, and represents no material impact to Credit Suisse,” the bank said in a statement shared with ThinkAdvisor.

“The bank has implemented numerous enhancements to its compliance and controls function and remains committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fair business practices in every jurisdiction in which it operates,” it added.

Credit Suisse also says that no criminal charges were brought against it and that there were “no allegation that any clients, investors or counterparties were harmed by the conduct involved in the settlements.”

Eric Heining and Paul G. Block of the FCPA Unit and Rory Alex and Alfred Day of the Boston Regional Office conducted the investigation.


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