A Bulgarian wrestler, tons of drugs, suitcases with money and a Swiss bank

A Bulgarian wrestler, tons of drugs, suitcases with money and a Swiss bank

After two years of scandals, Credit Suisse wants to return to the boring world of Swiss banking, but a Bulgarian wrestler who smuggled cocaine and suitcases full of money do not let her.

The Swiss bank and a former employee are on trial today for their failure to prevent money laundering in their collaboration with the former wrestler who became a criminal.

The Bulgarian, who was convicted of drug trafficking in the process, allegedly used his friends to launder his illegal income through Credit Suisse stores in Zurich.

Swiss prosecutors can file charges against banks if they believe these institutions have not done enough to control their clients and their money when there are obvious links to illegal activity.

The former Credit Suisse employee accepted deposits that often exceeded 500,000 euros at a time, although there was strong evidence that the money came from illegal transactions, prosecutors say.

The lawsuit comes as the 166-year-old bank faces one problem after another. First, a surveillance scandal involving senior executives was uncovered. Credit Suisse then became embroiled in the collapse of investment firm Greensill Capital, losing billions of dollars in Archegos Capital Management bankruptcy. Last month, the resignation of its president, António Horta-Osório, was announced abruptly.

The trial begins in 2008, when prosecutors launched an investigation into a Bulgarian wrestler. When funding for his training ran out, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the athlete joined a mafia gang and began drug trafficking to make money.

From 2002 to 2012, he organized the importation of tens of tons of cocaine into Europe by ships, planes and “small boats” that were ready to swallow rubber balls full of drugs. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Italy in 2017 as well as to trials in Romania and Bulgaria.

The Credit Suisse employee helped the drug ring launder 16 million francs and, in total, hide the illegal origin of transactions worth more than 140 million francs, according to the indictment.

If convicted, the former employee faces up to five years in prison, while Credit Suisse will pay a fine of up to 5 million francs.

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