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"Credit Spy: All's Well That Ends Well?"

With the departure of CEO Tidjane Thiam, is Credit Suisse once again a trustworthy Swiss bank?


Firstly, the fact that the Swiss major bank evidently maintains its own internal secret surveillance service, monitoring or spying on employees outside the workplace and beyond their working hours.

Secondly, it's disturbing that the undercover surveillance man, who carried a CS badge, took his life shortly after his name became known.

Thirdly, it became clear to us how much pressure foreign major shareholders exert on our major banks. Morality and ethics are of no concern.

Former, now deceased Federal Councillor Kurt Furgler once wanted to introduce a federal police force. The reason was to combat murderous terrorists, especially from Germany (Red Army Faction, RAF).

His intention was thwarted by the voters. The Swiss don't want a central police force; in Switzerland, the cantons hold the police power through the cantonal police.

The weighing of goods by the people was clear. We fear a central federal police force more than the RAF terrorists. That's Switzerland for you.

Against this backdrop, it is frightening that a Swiss major bank operates its own covert security service with former police officers.

Moreover, this secret service monitoring employees outside the workplace and beyond working hours is unacceptable. It does not align with Switzerland in any way.

Now, the outgoing president of the CS executive board has repeatedly pledged that he was unaware of the surveillance of former CS CEOs.

This doesn't make the story less serious – quite the opposite. He should have at least known that there was an internal surveillance service.

However: It is unacceptable for a company to maintain a secret surveillance service with espionage and intimidation of its own employees, affecting their employment status.

If employees merely suspect they are being secretly monitored, it leads to uncertainty and intimidation.

CS must be transparent to the Swiss public and, above all, its employees: Does it operate an internal covert surveillance service? Does the board of directors know about this?

It's hardly conceivable that two or three Frenchmen came to Switzerland and independently installed an internal secret service at the bank.

If CS secretly monitors its employees, it must communicate this openly to them. Whether this is also compatible with freedom rights in Switzerland needs to be clarified.

It gets very tricky when it comes to the suicide of the security man. Why did he take his life shortly after his identity was exposed? Could he no longer look his former colleagues in the eye because he was a spy?

Related questions remain unanswered – even after Thiam's departure. Isabel Villalon raised justified questions on IP in this context.

The public and CS employees have the right to know this. Was he the only secret security man at CS? Or how many of these secret security personnel does CS maintain?

Security personnel who, incidentally, don't defend against terrorists but monitor the employment conduct of their employees?

In this context, one inevitably wonders whether the other major bank, UBS, also maintains a secret security service.

And what about other employees, for example, at the SNB? How should one interpret the statement of a renowned economist that even Stalinist conditions are said to prevail at the SNB?

The comparison with Stalin is always a 'no-go.' Nevertheless, this statement is disturbing, even if it was retracted under pressure from an SNB board member.

I myself worked for both SKA (now CS) and SBG (now UBS). Even then, an atmosphere of intimidation prevailed at Paradeplatz and Bahnhofstrasse.

At SKA, I completed my studies for university graduates and then worked for a year at Paradeplatz.


After the long period of education, I wanted to treat myself to something special: a Jaguar E. My salary of 3,600 at the time didn't stretch far. So I moved to Citicorp Investment Bank in Geneva.


On the day of my resignation, my badge was promptly taken away; I was escorted to the door. Saying goodbye to my colleagues was no longer possible. I was treated like a serious criminal.


At SBG, I had been a market strategist for ten years. Under the threat of 'serious trouble,' I was prohibited from questioning the monetary theory, the basis of SNB monetary policy, as a private individual. However, as a responsible economist, I had to.


After a lecture before the Association of Academic Economists in Zurich, Tages-Anzeiger headlined: 'A Copernicus of Monetary Theory?' On the same day, I was summoned by my bosses; I had to leave SBG within three days.

The head of SBG Switzerland also told me that if I dared to go to the labor court, they would vigorously defend themselves using all means.


The culture of mistrust and intimidation has been thriving at Paradeplatz for a long time. This is not new – and not just since Thiam.


The fact that the stock prices of these banks have since plummeted shows that I didn't miss anything sensible at the major banks. Instead, it highlights the misguided leadership there.


And now, let's briefly discuss the behavior of foreign major shareholders. It became clear once again that foreigners increasingly hold sway at Paradeplatz. Only at the last minute could an attack be averted here.

We've clearly seen: once it's sold, it's sold. If a major bank is sold abroad, so are the jobs. Foreigners then terminate the Swiss employees – the faster, the better.

So, it must be carefully considered whether to sell a company abroad. It also raises the question of why CS doesn't have restricted registered shares with limited voting rights.


These could protect Swiss major companies from hostile takeovers from abroad (see Basel's major chemical industry).

In the recent struggle for supremacy at CS, it was no longer about maximizing profits or who had the better business ideas.

Rather, it was an attempt to establish a leadership body that serves foreign states beyond Swiss banks. In this case, it was probably France.

This attempt has now apparently been thwarted. For how long?

However, the recent case also illustrates the incredible neglect and indifference of Swiss major shareholders. Their voice completely disappeared. The 'mouthpiece' of CS foreign shareholders claimed only eight percent of CS shares.

Where were the Swiss major shareholders? Why doesn't CS have restricted voting registered shares? These would be very useful for CS now.

The company law urgently needs to be revised. Major shareholders, including pension funds, must be legally obliged to vote in the interests of their beneficiaries.


They can and must ascertain this will. It's worth the effort.

Proxy votes, to vote in favor of the board of directors, must be prohibited. How much damage have such 'courtesy votes' in favor of the board of directors already caused in our country?


Think of the excessive bonuses that have brought major banks to the brink of ruin because managers engaged in highly risky deals in hopes of a hefty bonus.

When faced with losses, they then run to Bern, and the Swiss people have to bear the brunt.


I am convinced that the vast majority of pensioners, who paid into their pension funds throughout their lives, do not agree with this type of leadership as practiced or still practiced at CS.


At the AGM, the board of directors will likely receive discharge again, even with the proxy votes of pension funds, against the will of the pensioners present.

That's an abuse of voting rights.

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