Criminal Case Reveals Breach of Swiss Banking Secrecy –


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The upcoming criminal trial of Raiffeisen's long-standing CEO has laid bare how Julius Baer was blindsided by a surprising violation of confidentiality regarding client data.

Pierin Vincenz (pictured below) is due in court in January to answer on charges that he and an associate enriched themselves via lucrative side deals led by Raiffeisen, which the Swiss banker was running at the time.

Vincenz, who is now 65, maintained an account at Julius Baer – information that made its way into the public domain via Swiss banking blog «Inside Paradeplatz» in 2016.

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The «side» matter is of interest because it has unleashed a storm of controversy over how Vincenz's data – protected by strict Swiss banking secrecy laws – left the bank. Violations of data confidentiality can be punished with up to three years in jail under Swiss law.

Blogger In Maelstrom

Julius Baer itself appears to have pursued criminal charges over the data breach, according to «NZZ am Sonntag» (behind paywall, in German). The paper viewed an internal investigation conducted by the bank, which found that reporting by the blog, popular in Zurich financial circles, was nearly identical to Julius Baer's own compliance paperwork on Vincenz.

As a result, Zurich's prosecutor questioned the blogger, Lukas Haessig, as well as Julius Baer's Swiss CEO at the time, Barend Fruithof, the Swiss outlet reported, as well as two other unnamed executives. The bank's investigation concluded that the leak of Vincenz's data came from inside and that it was not passed on electronically.

Ex-Wife Convicted

As Haessig's reporting on the banker gained steam in 2018, other media jumped on the bandwagon. Vincenz was eventually investigated and spent more than three months in custody; his trial is scheduled for January. 

His former wife, Nadja Ceregato, was convicted of passing on confidential data in a simplified proceeding, it emerged two weeks ago. Raiffeisen has yet to fully recover from the era of Vincenz.

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