Credit Suisse struggles to move on from spying crisis

Linda J. Dodson

Bosses including Thiam were cleared of having any knowledge of the botched spy operation following an internal probe which pinned the blame on Thiam’s key lieutenant, former operating chief Pierre-Olivier Bouée, who quit last year after an internal investigation concluded that he issued the surveillance in order to protect the interests of the bank without the board’s knowledge.

The bank insisted the initial spying case which took place last September was an unusual one-off incident. However the crisis escalated months later when it was forced to admit that another senior executive was spied on.

The drama first erupted a year ago when Credit Suisse’s wealth management boss Iqbal Khan, who had recently resigned, noticed that he was being followed while going out for dinner in Zurich with his wife. The lengths gone to check-up on its star banker after he quit for arch-rival UBS, keeping watch to make sure he didn’t try and lure over any clients or staff (there was never any evidence that he did), underlines just how competitive the Swiss banking market is.

In a further twist he also happened to be Thiam’s neighbour and the pair had fallen out months earlier in a row over some trees. The relationship between the neighbours had soured to the point that Khan, who helped boost profits in the bank’s wealth arm by 80pc, called it quits.

Soon after the Khan affair the bank’s reputation was damaged even further. The bank had insisted that Khan’s experience was an isolated one, but three months later it was forced to admit that its ex-human resources chief Peter Goerke was also followed by private eyes for several days.


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