The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced that Credit Suisse Group AG will pay approximately $30 million to resolve SEC charges that it obtained investment banking business in the Asia-Pacific region by corruptly influencing foreign officials in violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Credit Suisse also agreed to pay a $47 million criminal penalty to the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the SEC’s order, several senior Credit Suisse managers in the Asia-Pacific region sought to win business by hiring and promoting individuals connected to government officials as part of a quid pro quo arrangement. While this practice bypassed the firm’s normal hiring process, employees in other Credit Suisse subsidiaries and affiliates were aware of it and in some instances approved these “relationship hires” or “referral hires.” The SEC’s order found that in a seven-year period, Credit Suisse hired more than 100 employees at the request of foreign government officials, resulting in millions of dollars of business revenue.
“Bribery can take many forms, including granting employment to friends and relatives of government officials. Credit Suisse’s practice of engaging in these hiring practices violated the law, and it is now being held to account for having done so,” said Charles Cain, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit.
The SEC’s order finds that Credit Suisse violated the anti-bribery and internal accounting controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Credit Suisse agreed to pay disgorgement of $24.9 million plus $4.8 million in interest to settle the SEC’s case.