U.S. lawmakers have accused controversy-ridden Swiss lender Credit Suisse of holding up an investigation into its history with Nazi-linked accounts and that the bank held onto Nazi-affiliated accounts well into the 21st century.
The accusations come from an internal investigation sparked by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in 2020, which said it had new information on almost 100 previously undisclosed Nazi-linked accounts.
The Senate’s Budget committee said on Wednesday that Credit Suisse CS, -0.08% CSGN, -1.74% had conducted the investigation with an “unnecessarily rigid and narrow scope,” that the bank did not follow new leads and “inexplicably” terminated Neil Barofsky, the independent ombudsman overseeing the review in late 2022.
“When it comes to investigating Nazi matters, righteous justice demands that we must leave no stone unturned,” Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said in a statement. “Credit Suisse has thus far failed to meet that standard.”
Barofsky’s report was only obtained by the committee after issuing a subpoena. The findings, which were conducted by forensic research firm AlixPartners, show that Credit Suisse appeared to have maintained the accounts of at least 99 people who were either senior Nazi officials in Germany or members of Nazi-affiliated groups in Argentina. The report says 70 accounts were opened with the bank after 1945 and at least 14 of those were still open, some as recently as 2020.
The investigation also found 21 accounts from a list of high-level Nazis provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, including one that belonged to a Nazi commander who was sentenced at Nuremberg and another belonging to an SS commander who was convicted, whose account was open until 2002.
Credit Suisse, in a statement on its website, said the two-year probe didn’t support key claims by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and that Barofsky’s report contained “numerous factual errors, misleading and gratuitous statements and unsupported allegations that are based on an incomplete understanding of the facts.”
“The bank strongly rejects these misrepresentations,” Credit Suisse said. The bank said it was fully cooperating with the Budget Committee and has extended the mandate of AlixPartners.
Credit Suisse has been littered with scandals and losses in the wake of the banking crisis earlier this year, and currently is undergoing a $3 billion takeover by fellow Swiss lender UBS UBS, -0.33% UBSG, -1.73%.
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