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Credit Suisse, UBS & US Banks Reportedly Face DOJ Investigation

 |  March 26, 2023

Credit Suisse, UBS and some U.S. banks are reportedly being investigated.

Individuals at the two Swiss banks and the unspecified major U.S. banks were recently sent subpoenas by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which is looking into possible dealings with Russian oligarchs, Bloomberg reported Friday (March 24), citing unnamed sources.

The DOJ is investigating if the banks helped the oligarchs evade sanctions, and the effort began before the announcement that UBS will acquire Credit Suisse, according to the report.

Reached by PYMNTS, representatives for Credit Suisse, UBS and the Justice Department declined to comment on the report.

Related: UBS, Credit Suisse Oppose Idea Of Forced Combination

The inquiry is looking to identify which employees worked with sanctioned clients and how they vetted the clients, and may later look into whether they broke any laws, according to the report.

Before sanctions were imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Credit Suisse had managed as much as $60 billionfor Russian clients. The bank was still managing $33 billion when it ended its business with the clients in May 2022, the report said.

The Justice Department announced in March 2022 that it had launched Task Force KleptoCapture to enforce the sanctions, export restrictions and economic countermeasures that had been imposed on Russian officials and government-aligned elites.

“The Justice Department will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said at the time. “We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war.”

The task force works with prosecutors, agents and analysts, among others, to try to disrupt Russian agents and their facilitators.

The acquisition involving the two Swiss banks that are reportedly being investigated by the Justice Department — UBS and Credit Suisse — was announced Sunday amid unease around the banking sector.