World aim to classify details of bank collapse for 50 years

Troubled Credit Suisse was acquired by UBS in March in a deal aimed at shoring up public confidence in the Western financial system

A parliamentary investigation into the collapse of Switzerland’s banking giant Credit Suisse will keep its files confidential for half a century, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing a parliamentary committee document.

According to the report, the investigating commission will hand over its files to the Swiss Federal Archives after longer than the usual 30 years to ensure confidentiality in the case, which focuses on the activities of the Swiss government, financial regulator, and central bank in the run up to the emergency takeover of Credit Suisse.

The announcement has raised concerns in the Swiss Society for History, with its president Sacha Zala reportedly writing to the commission that “Should researchers want to scientifically investigate the 2023 banking crisis, access to the CS files would be invaluable.”

At its first regular meeting in Bern last week, the committee was quoted by Reuters as saying that “all persons participating in the meetings and the questioning are subject to the duty of secrecy, not only the members of the commission, but also the interviewees themselves.” 

It warned that “indiscretions complicate the work or damage the credibility of the commission and can have negative consequences for the Swiss financial center.” 

Switzerland risks becoming ‘financial banana republic’ – industry expert

Credit Suisse, the second-largest bank in Switzerland, faced a string of scandals, legal issues, and customer outflows in recent years. In 2022 the bank reported a net loss of 7.3 billion francs ($8.5 billion). This March, its biggest investor, Saudi National Bank, announced that it would not be able to provide financial assistance due to regulatory and statutory limits.

Later in the month, Credit Suisse’s rival UBS agreed to buy the struggling institution for the equivalent of $3.25 billion in a government-brokered deal. The merger, the biggest banking tie-up since the 2008 financial crisis, came amid growing fears of a broader contagion after several regional banks collapsed in the US. The acquisition ended Credit Suisse’s 167-year history while the whole affair has dealt a blow to Switzerland’s reputation as a stable global financial center.

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