Tuesday 19 May 2020 8:38 am

Regulator asks for mobile data in Credit Suisse spying probe

Swiss regulators have asked for message data from the mobile phones of several Credit Suisse managers and supervisory board directors as part of an investigation into spying at the bank, Reuters reported citing sources.

Switzerland’s financial watchdog FINMA is examining the culture and governance of the bank and whether management failures led to spying operations against former executive board members Iqbal Khan and Peter Goerke, the report said.

Read more: Credit Suisse cuts ex-boss Thiam’s bonus in wake of spying scandal

In September it emerged that Credit Suisse had hired private investigators to spy on Khan and Goerke, which eventually contributed to the departure of chief executive Tidjane Thiam in February.

Credit Suisse was trying to establish if former international wealth management head Khan was taking clients with him in his move to rival Swiss bank UBS.

The bank later apologised to Khan. It is not clear why the bank spied on Goerke.

The report said Finma is looking at whether people used encrypted messaging apps to hide some discussions.

“What they are more focused on now is who knew what, when, and who should have known,” said a Reuters source.

Read more: Bittersweet farewell for Tidjane Thiam as Credit Suisse profits soar

Homburger, a Swiss law firm that investigated the affair for Credit Suisse last year, said at a press conference in October that it had been inhibited by the deletion of messages sent on an encrypted communication app Threema, used by the company’s then chief operations officer, Pierre-Olivier Bouee, and security personnel.

Credit Suisse has publicly blamed Bouee for organising what it described as a rogue spying operation in which all executives and directors, including Thiam, were kept in the dark.

“Credit Suisse made public statements on the observation matter on several occasions this year and last year and informed the public of the results of internal and external investigations,” a bank spokesman said in a statement to Reuters.

“Due to the ongoing review by the investigating auditor appointed by Finma, with whom Credit Suisse has been cooperating since the beginning, we are not commenting further on the matter at this time,” the statement said.