The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether Swiss investment banks (IB) UBS and Credit Suisse (CS) violated sanctions against Russia.
Reuters quoted an official familiar with the matter as saying that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether financial experts were involved in avoiding sanctions by Russian oligarchs (emerging conglomerates). In the process, subpoenas were sent to several banks, including some of the largest banks in the United States and UBS and CS. Bloomberg said the investigation focuses on bank employees who traded with Russian customers subject to sanctions and their transaction methods, and further investigations can be conducted to confirm their illegality. However, it is known that the investigation had already begun before CS was acquired by UBS due to the recent crisis.
CS was cited as a bank that Oligarch used quite a lot before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. When CS announced the withdrawal of its Russian business in May last year, the assets of its Russian customers reached $33 billion, which once exceeded $60 billion.
Since last year, the U.S. Department of Justice has set up a dedicated team to investigate whether Oligarchs violated sanctions. Last month, Viktor Bexelberg, an emerging Russian conglomerate, seized houses owned in New York and Florida. Investigations are also underway into those who helped Oligarchs evade sanctions. British businessman Graham Bonham Carter was arrested for helping Oleg Deripaska maintain $1 million in U.S. assets, and a former senior FBI official was also indicted for his involvement.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) is calling on Austria’s leading bank, Leifaizen, to withdraw from Russia, Reuters reported, citing sources. Lai Fai-jen currently accounts for 25% of the euro’s remittance to Russia, playing the most important role in Russia among Western banks.
Recently, UBS agreed to acquisite Credit Suisse following announcement of bankruptcy of small-medium sized banks.