Credit Suisse and Swedbank recently had to oust CEOs over unfortunate incidents—in the former case, spying on employees, and in the latter, possible Russian money laundering. But both have bent over backwards to make as clear as possible that those CEOs had done nothing really wrong, that the worst that could be said of them is that they didn’t do enough to make themselves aware of the potentially reputation-injuring matters going on beneath their noses. And by that we mean both hired law firms to exonerate both the banks themselves and those that led them. In Credit Suisse’s case, it did so before firing Tidjane Thiam, which exhaustively reviewed a whole month of correspondence between Thiam and his lieutenant/spy chief/scapegoat Pierre-Olivier Bouée before pronouncing Thiam wholly innocent of the whole affair. Swedbank was forced to part ways with Birgitte Bonnesen before having a law firm conduct a face-saving probe, but was nice enough to go easy on her all the same.

The law firm… said it cannot conclude that money laundering actually took place….

The law firm said Birgitte Bonnesen, the CEO who served from 2016 through 2019, took significant steps to de-risk the non-resident business in the Baltics and launched internal investigations.

“However, the CEO did not direct sufficient resources, attention, or urgency to the remediation of the issues identified, and did not ensure that information regarding these issues was shared between relevant Swedbank control functions or with the management,” Clifford Chance said. “Nor did this CEO ensure that the board was adequately educated or apprised of the significant legal and reputational risk that these anti-money laundering deficiencies...presented to Swedbank.”

Ah, yes, the real crime, and the one for which both Bonnesen and Thiam must now be punished by the loss of more than simply their jobs.

Swedbank said Monday it had decided to cancel its severance pay agreement with Ms. Bonnesen but will not make claims against her.

Credit Suisse Group AG on Wednesday said it docked around 2.2 million Swiss francs ($2.24 million) from former chief executive Tidjane Thiam’s 2019 bonus because of the “significant impact” of last year’s spying scandal on the bank’s reputation.

Oh, and also the unfailingly loyal Bouée has to eat more shit.

Pierre-Olivier Bouée, the bank’s former chief operating officer who Credit Suisse said was responsible for the surveillance of two executives, lost shares worth around 4 million francs after being fired in December, according to the report.

Credit Suisse Cuts Former Chief Executive’s Bonus Due to Spying-Scandal Fallout [WSJ]
Swedbank Review Criticizes Ex-CEOs for Anti-Money Laundering Failings [WSJ]

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