Credit Suisse offices searched amid Greensill probe

ZURICH (BLOOMBERG) – Police searched Credit Suisse Group AG’s Zurich offices last week and confiscated documents related to Greensill Capital, the now-defunct firm with which the Swiss bank managed supply-chain finance funds, NZZ am Sonntag reported.

New proceedings have been opened against an exponent of Greensill and unknown persons, Zurich’s public prosecutor told the newspaper in a statement. No criminal investigation has been opened against current or former Credit Suisse employees, they said.

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs confirmed to Bloomberg News that it had filed a criminal complaint in the Greensill case for violating federal law against unfair competition, without elaborating. Calls and emails to the public prosecutor went unanswered outside regular business hours.

“As part of an official procedure that is not directed against Credit Suisse, data have been secured,” a representative for the bank said in an emailed statement. “Credit Suisse is cooperating fully with the authorities and will not comment on this until further notice because the proceedings are ongoing.”

Credit Suisse last month said it plans to return about $400 million to investors in supply-chain finance funds that invested in Greensill products, the fifth such disbursement since the bank was forced to freeze the money pools this year. It has conducted an investigation into what happened with the Greensill-linked funds and is due to announce its findings soon.

The bank marketed the popular supply-chain finance funds as among the safest investments it offered, because the loans they held were backed by invoices usually paid in a matter of weeks.

But as the funds grew into a US$10 billion strategy, they strayed from that pitch and much of the money was lent through Greensill against expected future invoices, for sales that were merely predicted.

The blow-up with Greensill and the collapse of hedge fund Archegos Capital Management LP have dominated the year for Credit Suisse. The Swiss group’s investment bank head Brian Chin and risk chief Lara Warner both departed in the wake of the scandals.

The bank reported slump in second-quarter profit on the back of the Archegos implosion, and after it turned away billions of dollars in assets in Asia as it sought to reduce its exposure to risky clients. This included cutting ties with Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., a backer to the Greensill supply-chain finance empire.

Credit Suisse Chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio told investors last week that the bank is at a “critical juncture” amid the fallout from Greensill and Archegos and is planning to outline its strategic response by the end of this year.

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