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Credit Suisse (CS) to Pay $77M Fine for China Hiring Scandal

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Credit Suisse Group AG (CS - Free Report) has agreed to pay $77 million in aggregate to the U.S. regulators to put an end to investigations related to the alleged violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The bank was accused of hiring the relatives of Chinese officials, with an aim to win banking deals.

Of the total penalty amount, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will get $30 million and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will receive $47 million. Notably, Credit Suisse has improved its employment practices and will ensure not to get involved in any such foul practices going forward.

Terms of the Settlement

As part of its settlement with DOJ, the Hong Kong unit of Credit Suisse acknowledged making quid pro quo hiring agreements with Asian government officials, from 2007 to 2013, to secure banking businesses. Credit Suisse would even skip multiple rounds of interview and even bypass their standard hiring procedure. Further, per the deal signed with SEC, the bank was charged with hiring more than 100 employees that had ties with government officials, which resulted in revenues of millions of dollars.

Acting Assistant Attorney General, John Cronan stated, "These 'relationship hires' often lacked necessary technical skills, and offered fewer qualifications as well as significantly less relevant banking experience than other candidates for the jobs."

In one instance, the daughter of a high-ranked Chinese government official was employed by the bank and her resume was made “creative” by the bank’s employees so that it could be justified why she was hired. She was addressed as a “princess” and was promoted many times, even though she lacked the capabilities.

A Credit Suisse spokeswoman informed, "The bank has implemented numerous enhancements to its compliance and controls function and remains committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fair business practices in every jurisdiction in which it operates."

Another bank, which was charged with a similar violation in 2016, was JPMorgan (JPM), and it had to pay $264 million to DOJ and SEC to settle. Global banks like HSBC Holdings (HSBC - Free Report) , Deutsche Bank (DB - Free Report) and Barclays PLC’s (BCS - Free Report) hiring practices in Asia are also being investigated by the regulatory authorities.

Shares of this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) have lost 17.4% over the past six months compared with 15.7% decline recorded by the industry it belongs to.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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