Kolomoisky and Akhmetov among clients of Credit Suisse — OCCRP

21 February, 06:55 PM
A data leak on the clients of one of the largest Swiss banks, Credit Suisse, has been investigated by 163 journalists in 39 countries across the world (Photo:OCCRP)

A data leak on the clients of one of the largest Swiss banks, Credit Suisse, has been investigated by 163 journalists in 39 countries across the world (Photo:OCCRP)

Ukrainian citizens are among the clients whose details are included in a data leak from one of the largest banks in Switzerland, Credit Suisse, which has been analyzed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

OCCRP published the first part of its investigation, Suisse Secrets, on leaked data about client’s bank accounts on Feb. 20. Ukrainian investigative journalism outlet Slidstvo.Info was also involved in analyzing the leak.

An anonymous source handed over an archive containing the leaked information to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and 163 journalists in 39 countries investigated the contents. Over 18,000 accounts were revealed, all containing funds over $100,000.

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According to the UK newspaper The Guardian, which has reported on the investigation, the bank’s clients contain national leaders as well as individuals suspected of serious crimes, such as torture and drug trafficking country.

The Guardian explained that the data has helped to reveal how Credit Suisse has repeatedly opened or maintained bank accounts for a wide range of high-risk clients around the world, including suspected corrupt officials from Ukraine, Egypt, Thailand and other countries, as well as the families of the presidents of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, etc. – all of whom have been accused of laundering stolen or appropriated funds.

The data covers accounts opened from the 1940s to the 2010s, but not the current operations of the bank. Credit Suisse said Switzerland's strict bank secrecy laws prevent it from commenting on claims involving individual clients. They also denied allegations of impropriety raised by investigating journalists, claiming that they are based on "selective information taken out of context."

What we learned about Ukrainians

A total of 2,500 Ukrainians feature in the Credit Suisse data leak. According to Slidstvo.info, the list includes the accounts of oligarchs Ihor Kolomoisky and Rinat Akhmetov, businessman Pavel Fuks, ex-head of the Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov, ex-head of the Security Service of Ukraine Valery Khoroshkovsky, businessmen Oleh Bakhmatyuk and Orest Firmaniuk, and former Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Lazarenko.

Akhmetov's accounts are connected to the top managers of a company in his SCM business group. In total, journalists found over 50 of their bank accounts, the balance of one of which reached 497 million Swiss francs ($541 million) in 2016. SCM's lawyers said these accounts were directly connected to the business, and explained that SCM "runs" over $100 million through all of its accounts at various banks, so accounts with Credit Suisse come as no surprise.

The journalists found out that Kolomoisky had a personal account with more than 27 million Swiss francs ($29.4 million) and an account in the names of his mother, wife and daughter (in 2007, the total balance of which was over 3 billion francs ($3.2 billion)). The oligarch claimed the origin of the funds were from the sale of shares of multinational steel concern Evraz, but said that the funds were in the account of another bank bought by Credit Suisse. According to him, in the end, this money was transferred to the Cyprus branch of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest bank, once owned by Kolomoisky.

Fuks, who fell under sanctions from Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, became a client of Credit Suisse in 2014, according to documents. A year later, his account totalled 17 million francs ($18.5 million). The businessman did not respond to a request from journalists and did not explain the origin of the money.

Also, according to Suisse Secrets, another sanctioned businessman, Orest Firmanyuk from western Ukraine, accused of being one of Ukraine’s top 10 smugglers, had an account with Credit Suisse since 2011. As of 2015, he had more than 60,000 Swiss francs ($65,000) in his account. Firmaniukdenied possessing such a sum.

Roman Nasirov, accused of causing damage to Ukraine to the tune of 2 billion hryvnias ($70.5 million), had an account in the Swiss bank with a 699,000 Swiss franc (a $762,000) balance. He had this money for several months in 2010. When the account was opened, he worked for Renaissance Capital.

Valery Khoroshkovsky opened accounts with Credit Suisse in 2004, 2006, and 2007. One of them had at least a billion Swiss francs ($1.09 billion) when the ex-head of the SBU ended his work at Evraz and became the deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, journalists discovered. He also had one of the accounts when he took office as head of the SBU.

Lazarenko, who was ranked among the most corrupt leaders in the world by the World Bank in 2007, had two accounts with Credit Suisse, with over 7 million Swiss francs ($7.6 million) as of 2003. The lawyers of the former prime minister confirmed the authenticity of the information, but said the funds were frozen.

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