Suisse Secrets – Dirty Money

Suisse Secrets is an international investigation into one of the world’s wealthiest and most important banks.

More than 163 journalists from 48 media outlets in 39 countries across the world spent months analyzing bank account information leaked from Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest lender. The leak included more than 18,000 accounts that held in excess of US$100 billion at their peaks. It is the only known leak of a major Swiss bank’s client data to journalists.

Switzerland is a well-known destination for money from all over the world, in part because of its banking secrecy laws. There is nothing inherently wrong with having a Swiss bank account. But banks are supposed to avoid clients who earned money illegally or were involved in crimes — and reporters identified dozens of corrupt government officials, criminals, and alleged human rights abusers among Credit Suisse account holders.

Despite their notoriety — which, in some cases, would have been obvious from a quick Google search — Credit Suisse maintained relationships with some of these clients for years, though it is possible that some accounts were ordered frozen by law enforcement.

The Suisse Secrets project investigates these account holders, whose exploitation of Swiss banking secrecy is a prime example of how the international financial industry enables theft and corruption. Given Credit Suisse’s numerous pledges to reform its due diligence practices over the years, the project highlights the need for increased accountability in this sector.

Franco-German Journalism Prize 2022 (nominated)