Fed Orders Credit Suisse to Cease and Desist
The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday issued a Cease and Desist order against global financial services firm Credit Suisse. The order requires Credit Suisse to improve its program to comply with US economic sanctions requirements on a global basis. Credit Suisse's supervisor, the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority, agreed to assist the Fed in executing the order (available to download here). The US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), along with the US Department of Justice and the New York County District Attorney's Office, separately announced a $536m settlement with Credit Suisse. The firm will pay $268m each to the US and to New York. It marks the largest settlement in OFAC's history. "Credit Suisse routed transactions through the United States surreptitiously, while knowing that those payments would be blocked or rejected if their true nature had been clear," said OFAC director Adam Szubin. According to the Treasury, Credit Suisse used "elaborate procedures" to alter payments and conceal the involvement of sanctioned parties from the US banks involved in the transactions. In some cases, Treasury said, Credit Suisse even stripped the names of sanctioned parties from payment instructions and forwarded payment messages to US financial institutions that falsely identified Credit Suisse as the ordering institution. "In its securities unit, Credit Suisse's London affiliate processed trades through Credit Suisse's US branch on behalf of a then-designated Libyan state-owned investment company and a Sudanese bank," Treasury said in a statement. "The London affiliate utilized code names to disguise the identities of the sanctioned entities and maintained sub-accounts in these code names in its omnibus accounts maintained in the United States." It's not the first time this week Credit Suisse received negative press. The action by the Fed, Treasury and DOJ comes after MBIA Insurance Corp. filed a complaint against the firm, alleging Credit Suisse made "pervasive and material misrepresentations" about mortgage-backed securities MBIA insured. MBIA said in the complaint filed Sunday that it made more than $296m in claim payments on the misrepresented transaction after the loans defaulted "at a remarkable rate." About $464m -- or 51% -- of the original loan balance underlying the transaction had to be charged off, MBIA said. Write to Diana Golobay.