Credit Suisse Failed to Fully Investigate Nazi-Linked Accounts, Full Report Confirms
Newly unredacted records obtained by the Senate Budget Committee reveal additional details about the bank’s obstruction amid forensic review of Nazi ties
WASHINGTON– Persistent and bipartisan oversight by the Senate Budget Committee has exposed new details that show Credit Suisse’sinternal investigation into its servicing of Nazi clients and their enablers was insufficient, allowing the bank to continue to obscure details of its historic servicing of Nazi clients and their enablers.
Pursuant to subpoena, the Budget Committee obtained records, which it released in April 2023, that brought to light new evidence that Credit Suisse’s internal investigation into its historical Nazi ties was hampered by scoping restrictions and resulted in incomplete findings. Despite the limitations, the records revealed that Credit Suisse, now part of UBS Group AG, maintained nearly 100 previously undisclosed Nazi-linked accounts—some of which remained open until as recently as 2020—among other Nazi connections.
However, because of obstruction by Credit Suisse, the previously released records were partially redacted. Over the course of its nearly half a year investigation, the Committee requested the full, unredacted investigative report, but it was not until last week—following a letter from Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) again requesting from Credit Suisse the fully unredacted report—that the bank complied.
The complete report, released today by the Budget Committee, bears out evidence that 64,000 sets of potentially relevant records related to Nazi-linked accounts are not part of Credit Suisse’s ongoing investigation. Furthermore, the unredacted portions reveal Credit Suisse inexplicably blocked former Independent Ombudsperson Neil Barofsky from accessing materials critical to the investigation, thereby obstructing his ability to fulfill his contractual obligation to oversee AlixPartners’ forensic review, prior to his sudden termination. Credit Suisse also blocked an historian hired to assist the investigation from similar access.
Because of the Budget Committee’s investigation, Credit Suisse has agreed to review its potential support for Nazis fleeing justice following World War II via so-called “Ratlines.” However, even after repeated requests from the committee, the bank has failed to fully explain the exact scope of its ongoing investigation.
Credit Suisse has stated that its independent investigative report and the corresponding oversight report by its newly appointed Ombudsperson will be completed by September 30, 2023. The committee will continue its bipartisan oversight until a thorough and complete investigation is conducted.
“When credible and serious allegations were brought to the Budget Committee regarding lingering Nazi ties at Credit Suisse, we made a bipartisan commitment to pursue justice and fully investigate this serious matter. The Senate Budget Committee continues to make good on that promise,” said Senator Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. “Our oversight has pulled back the curtain on decades of inaction and wrongdoing by Credit Suisse and raised concerns about the bank’s integrity in conducting its internal review. Out of respect for Holocaust victims and their families, we cannot turn a blind eye to these shortcomings. We’ll continue pushing for a full and complete investigation at Credit Suisse until all questions related to these Nazi-linked accounts are resolved.”
“As we said when we first launched this investigation, when presented with credible—and previously undisclosed—evidence of Credit Suisse’s historical servicing of Nazi clients and their enablers, the Committee had an obligation to investigate,” said Senator Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “In our pursuit of transparency, accountability, and justice, we are leaving no stone unturned. Our inquiry has already brought to light new details about the quality of Credit Suisse’s internal investigation and prompted the bank to take additional action, underscoring the importance of seeing this bipartisan investigation through. Survivors of the Holocaust and their families deserve nothing less.”
In April 2023, the Senate Budget Committee released Mr. Barofsky’s 205-page report, titled “Report of the Independent Ombudsperson and Independent Advisor to Credit Suisse,” and the independent forensic firm’s report, titled “Independent investigation of specific topics and questions raised by the SWC related to the Second World War era.” The release of those two reports followed months-long bipartisan investigative work by the committee.
In March of 2020, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) notified Credit Suisse that it had credible information the bank held potential Nazi-linked accounts that had not previously been disclosed, including during the many Holocaust-related investigations of the 1990s. As a result, the bank voluntarily agreed to investigate. It retained forensic research firm AlixPartners Ltd to conduct the review, and, with SWC’s support, subsequently retained Neil Barofsky of Jenner & Block LLP in June 2021 to oversee AlixPartners’s review and serve as Independent Ombudsperson. In February 2023, Ranking Member Grassley received credible allegations of potential wrongdoing related to Credit Suisse’s internal investigation, including specifically the questionable removal of Mr. Barofsky in late 2022. Ranking Member Grassley also learned that, consistent with his contract with Credit Suisse, Mr. Barofsky had drafted a report of his findings for the bank, but it had not been released.
Ranking Member Grassley approached Chairman Whitehouse, and they agreed that pursuing the allegations was in the public interest. Accordingly, with the committee’s full bipartisan support, Chairman Whitehouse and Ranking Member Grassley issued the Budget Committee’s first subpoena since 1991 to compel Mr. Barofsky to produce his report.
- Fully unredacted version of Barofsky’s report to Credit Suisse
- Condensed version of Barofsky’s report containing only the previously redacted portions
- Cover letter from Credit Suisse acknowledging the ongoing supplemental review of Ratlines
- Letter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) expressing thanks for the Budget Committee’s investigation and refuting Credit Suisse’s claims that SWC refused to constructively engage with the bank
- Letter from Ranking Member Grassley to Chairman Whitehouse (March 6, 2023)
- Subpoena Cover Letter (March 14, 2023)
- Subpoena (March 14, 2023)
- Report of the Independent Ombudsperson and Independent Advisor to Credit Suisse (February 15, 2023)
- First AlixPartners Investigation Report: Independent investigation of specific topics and questions raised by SWC related to the Second World War era (March 31, 2023)
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