Credit Suisse Chairman Resigns After Investigation Into Alleged COVID-19 Breaches

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
January 17, 2022Updated: January 17, 2022

Credit Suisse Group AG chairman Antonio Horta-Osorio has resigned “effective immediately” following reports that he broke COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Horta-Osorio, who joined the bank in April from Britain’s Lloyds resigned following an investigation commissioned by the bank’s board.

“I have worked hard to return Credit Suisse to a successful course, and I am proud of what we have achieved together in my short time at the bank,” Horta-Osorio said in a statement issued by Switzerland’s No. 2 bank.

“Credit Suisse’s strategic realignment will provide for a clear focus on strengthening, simplifying, and investing for growth. I am convinced that Credit Suisse is well-positioned today and on the right track for the future,” Horta-Osorio continued.

“I regret that a number of my personal actions have led to difficulties for the bank and compromised my ability to represent the bank internally and externally. I therefore believe that my resignation is in the interest of the bank and its stakeholders at this crucial time. I wish my colleagues at Credit Suisse every success for the future,” the former chairman said.

Board of directors member Axel P. Lehmann was appointed to take his place and “will continue to execute Credit Suisse’s strategy, driving forward the transformation of the bank,” the board said.

The announcement comes after reports emerged that Horta-Osorio had broken COVID-19 quarantine rules twice last year.

In December, Reuters reported that a preliminary internal bank investigation had found that Horta-Osorio attended the Wimbledon tennis finals in London in early July, at a time when arrivals from Europe had to undergo Britain’s quarantine rules.

Prior to that, Horta-Osorio broke COVID-19 rules on a visit to Switzerland in November by leaving the country early during a 10-day quarantine period.

“I aim to abide by Swiss quarantine rules and strictly followed the protocol from the moment I entered the country on November 28, 2021 until I left,” Horta-Osorio said in a statement at the time. “I unintentionally violated Swiss quarantine rules by leaving the country prematurely on December 1. I sincerely regret this mistake. I apologize and will ensure that this does not happen again.”

The resignation adds to ongoing issues faced by Credit Suisse. In October 2021, the Swiss banking giant agreed to pay approximately $475 million to U.S. and British authorities, as well as restitution to victims, to resolve bribery and fraud charges relating to a $2 billion Mozambican corruption scandal, while its subsidiary pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in New York.

Credit Suisse is also reeling from the heavy financial loss owing to the collapse of U.S. family office Archegos and client losses from the collapse of supply chain finance company Greensill.

The company was also hit by allegations that it had hired private investigators to shadow former top wealth management executive Iqbal Khan who had moved to a rival company, UBS Group AG.

The Epoch Times has contacted a Credit Suisse spokesperson for comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.