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Credit Suisse urged to improve money laundering controls

Zurich

CREDIT Suisse Group AG was given until the end of next year to strengthen its internal processes to combat money laundering as Switzerland's financial regulator concluded a pair of enforcement proceedings against the nation's second-biggest bank.

The regulator, known as Finma, ordered the Zurich-based lender to ensure that information about particular clients can be accessed more easily by bankers, according to a statement on Monday.

Credit Suisse, led by chief executive officer Tidjane Thiam, already made "some substantial" improvements in its anti-money-laundering controls and avoided a fine in the probes.

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The authorities had been investigating the bank's relationships with officials of Fifa, soccer's governing body, as well as its dealings with Brazilian oil company Petrobras and Petroleos de Venezuela SA.

Fifa was rocked by a corruption probe that erupted in 2015, when dozens of soccer executives were arrested in Swiss police raids and the US Justice Department filed charges relating to bribery allegations involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

The regulator said that review covered the period from 2006 to 2016. Compliance costs have been increasing for wealth managers as governments and regulators step up efforts to fight money laundering and tax evasion.

The Swiss regulator is also conducting an enforcement proceeding against Julius Baer. Finma had confirmed that it has a number of enforcement proceedings related to money laundering in South America under way and some of them are tied to PDVSA.

Another Finma case focused on Credit Suisse's relationship with a so-called politically exposed person.

Here, the regulator identified deficiencies in the bank's anti-money laundering controls as well as shortcomings in its oversight of an unnamed banker, identified as Patrice Lescaudron by people with knowledge of the matter.

Credit Suisse "must remediate the relevant control systems and processes, and so prove that higher-risk business relationships and transactions are adequately detected, categorised, monitored and documented," the regulator said in the statement.

Credit Suisse is still being probed in two other legal cases that are related to compliance matters, according to a spokesman for the bank. BLOOMBERG

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