Credit Suisse (CS) Under Belgium Regulators' Investigations

Legal hassles continue to plague Credit Suisse Group CS. The bank is under probe by the Belgium regulators over doubts surrounding money laundering and illegal activities related to tax evasion. The regulators are scrutinizing the foreign activities of Switzerland's one of the top banks. Notably, Belgium has become the latest European country to investigate Credit Suisse's actions.

Belgian prosecutors have doubted the Credit Suisse unit of assisting more than 2,600 wealthy clients in hiding their money in Swiss accounts. Per Eric Van Duyse, a spokesman for Belgium’s Federal Prosecutor’s office, the investigators are looking for facts which might not turn out into charges. Notably, bank details of Belgian clients with Credit Suisse accounts between 2003 and 2014 have been evidenced. Additionally, last year, French authorities had provided some account data.

Credit Suisse “applies a strict zero-tolerance policy and wishes to conduct business with clients who have paid their taxes and fully declared their assets,” the lender noted in an Aug 22 e-mailed statement. “We strictly comply with all the applicable laws, rules and regulations in the markets in which we operate,” the lender further added.

We believe that the ongoing investigations on banks will be a step forward toward reducing the huge losses incurred due to offshore tax evasions. Regulatory authorities are investigating scandals and are determined to put ahead a landmark judgment in a bid to terminate such shrewd practices in the future, bring justice to the sufferers and punish the wrongdoers.

Notably, the ongoing probes will undoubtedly dent Credit Suisse’s reputation in the global arena. With such allegations being imposed on the company, its bottom line would take a hit. Nevertheless, resolution of such issues will likely restore investors’ confidence in the stock.

Currently, Credit Suisse carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Shares of the company have gained 35% in the past three months compared with 15.2% growth recorded by the industry.

Over the past few years, several global banks, including JPMorgan JPM, UBS Group AG UBS, Citigroup and Barclays, have been accused of rigging currencies, rates and prices of commodities, among others. The banks have been fined billions of dollars as part of probes and lawsuits.

Last August, HSBC Holdings’ HSBC Swiss banking division agreed to pay €300 million ($336 million) for resolving tax fraud and money-laundering case in Belgium. The lawsuit was filed in 2014. In February 2019, UBS and its French unit were found guilty by the French trial court of tax fraud and money laundering allegations. The court had imposed a penalty of €4.5 billion ($5.1 billion) on the bank.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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