Credit Suisse and UBS face a US probe over Russian sanctions evasion allegations
Credit Suisse and UBS are among banks under investigation in a US federal probe into whether financial experts helped Russian oligarchs evade sanctions, according to a new report.
The banks have been included in a wave of subpoenas from the US Department of Justice, Bloomberg News reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The requests were sent by the US government ahead of the crisis that led to UBS launching a $3.2 billion takeover of Credit Suisse last weekend at the urging of Swiss regulators, the people said.
According to the report, the Justice Department subpoenas are designed to identify which bank employees may have dealt with sanctioned customers and how those customers have been screened over the past several years.
UBS declined to comment when reached by DailyMail.com. Credit Suisse and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Credit Suisse and UBS are reportedly among banks under investigation in a US federal probe into whether financial experts helped Russian oligarchs evade sanctions. Pictured: Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg is seen in a file photo with Vladimir Putin
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, Credit Suisse had a reputation for catering to wealthy Russians. The bank was taken over by UBS last weekend at the urging of regulators
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, Credit Suisse had a reputation for catering to wealthy Russians.
However, it is unclear which alleged clients of Credit Suisse and UBS could be the subject of the investigation.
During last week’s takeover talks, UBS raised concerns about assuming post-merger legal or regulatory liabilities from troubled Credit Suisse, but the Swiss government agreed to absorb losses of up to $9.8 billion.
In recent years, the US has dramatically tightened sanctions against Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and oligarchs designated by the US Treasury Department.
The Justice Department has also created a task force called KleptoCapture aimed at enforcing sweeping sanctions against the Russian oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a Treasury Department report earlier this month, more than $58 billion worth of assets belonging to sanctioned oligarchs have been frozen or frozen worldwide so far.
These include two luxury yachts, each worth $300 million, seized in San Diego and Fiji, and six properties in New York and Florida worth $75 million owned by sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
UBS has expressed concerns about assuming post-merger legal liabilities from troubled Credit Suisse, but the Swiss government has agreed to absorb losses of up to $9.8 billion
In September, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents participated in raids on a Park Avenue penthouse in Manhattan (above) and on the Hampton estate associated with Viktor Vekselberg
The US has also begun targeting the alleged lackeys and advisers of Russian oligarchs around the world, accusing them of helping their billionaire bosses hide their wealth and evade sanctions.
In the Vekselberg case, Vladimir Voronchenko was indicted in New York after helping to preserve Vekselberg’s property.
He was charged in February with conspiracy to violate and evade US sanctions but remains at large.
Richard Masters, 52, was arrested in Spain for violating US sanctions laws
In January, British national Richard Masters was arrested in Spain amid US criminal charges alleging he helped Vekselberg hide his $90 million 225-foot megayacht Tango.
Masters, who runs a yacht management company, has been accused in an indictment of inventing a false ship name “The Fanta” and using shell companies to hide the yacht’s connection to Vekselberg from financial institutions.
Despite the alleged plan, the Tango was seized by the FBI last April in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands and a playground and tax haven for the super-rich.
Masters remains in custody pending extradition in Spain.
Another Russian oligarch, 52-year-old Oleg Deripaska, was charged last year with violating sanctions by using shell companies to operate three luxury properties in the US.
Deripaska’s 33-year-old lover was also arrested when she tried to enter the United States to have his child on American soil after allegedly lying to federal agents at a customs checkpoint.
Masters is facing extradition to the US over charges he tried to hide sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s 255-foot luxury yacht, the Tango (above), from authorities
Another Russian oligarch, 52-year-old Oleg Deripaska, was charged last year with violating sanctions by using shell companies to operate three luxury properties in the US
A former senior FBI agent, Charles McGonigal (above), was charged in January with helping Oleg Deripaska violate sanctions. He has pleaded not guilty
In October, British businessman Graham Bonham-Carter was indicted on US charges that he illegally transferred $1 million to maintain Deripaska’s US properties for a sanctioned billionaire.
However, earlier this month the US dropped its request to extradite Bonham-Carter from the UK and the case seems unlikely to go ahead.
A former senior FBI agent, Charles McGonigal, was also charged in January with helping Deripaska violate sanctions.
McGonigal has pleaded not guilty and is at large awaiting trial.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11896585/Credit-Suisse-UBS-face-probe-Russian-sanction-evasion-claims.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Credit Suisse and UBS face a US probe over Russian sanctions evasion allegations