Staging the trial of the former star Swiss banker


ZURICH, Jan 24 (Reuters) – A former ‘banker of the year’ faces charges of fraud and embezzlement in a Zurich court on Tuesday in a rare high-profile lawsuit in the banking sector. financial services in Switzerland.

Pierin Vincenz, along with six other people, is also accused of unfair management and falsification of documents in a case relating to transactions and acquisitions made while he was managing director of the unlisted cooperative lender Raiffeisen Switzerland (RFSHW.UL).

Vincenz and the other defendants all deny the allegations.

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Hearings were moved from the local courthouse to Zurich’s Volkshaus theater due to intense interest in the case of Vincenz, who was named “Banker of the Year” by Swiss magazine Bilanz in 2014.

A cooperative of independent branches, Raiffeisen is the third largest banking group in Switzerland. In 2018, the country’s financial watchdog FINMA uncovered “serious shortcomings” at Raiffeisen, including conflicts of interest and inadequate oversight in an investigation linked to allegations of fraud against Vincenz.

FINMA dropped its charges against Vincenz in late 2017 after he resigned from all senior positions at Swiss financial institutions and promised not to hold such positions in the future.

Swiss prosecutors opened an investigation, however, and Vincenz was detained for three and a half months in 2018.

Raiffeisen declined to comment on the case beyond that it was a private plaintiff in the criminal proceedings. He faces no charges and said he has improved corporate governance since the FINMA investigation.

Prosecutors are seeking nearly 70 million Swiss francs ($77 million) in total assets from the seven defendants, as well as financial penalties and prison terms ranging from two to six years for all but one.

They also target loans given to Vincenz and accumulated expenses on his company credit card, including nearly 200,000 Swiss francs for visits to strip clubs and 100,000 francs for private trips, the report says. indictment.

($1 = 0.9111 Swiss francs)

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Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi and Oliver Hirt; Editing by Alexander Smith

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