Credit Suisse finds Horta-Osório breached quarantine twice2 min read

An internal investigation by Credit Suisse has found that Antnio Horta-Osrio breached coronavirus quarantine rules a second time, raising questions about the chair’s personal judgment as he tries to lead a cultural overhaul of the scandal-plagued lender.

The probe uncovered that Horta-Osório failed to obey Covid rules when he flew to London and subsequently watched the Wimbledon tennis finals on July 10 and 11, according to people familiar with the matter. At the time, Switzerland was on the UK’s amber list and travellers were required to isolate for 10 days on arrival.

The findings of the investigation, which was first reported by Reuters, were presented to the board’s audit committee two weeks ago, which will now decide whether to take further action. Romeo Cerutti, the bank’s top lawyer, is overseeing the probe.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

The Wimbledon incident comes on top of a previously reported breach of Swiss quarantine rules earlier this year when Horta-Osório flew in and out of the country within three days.

The chair had travelled from London to Zurich on November 28, shortly after a 10-day quarantine requirement was introduced in Switzerland following the identification of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Horta-Osório apologised for the “mistake” and characterised the breach as “unintentional”. However, Swiss newspaper Blick has reported that he initially sought exemptions from both the local canton and federal government, but was informed he would receive no special treatment and would need to isolate for the full 10 days.

Despite this, Horta-Osório flew out of the country on a private jet on December 1.

Horta-Osório could face a fine of up to SFr5,000 after reporting his actions to prosecutors in the canton of St Gallen.

Since joining Credit Suisse in April, Horta-Osório’s top priority has been to fix cultural and risk-management problems, which contributed to twin crises that cost the lender and its clients billions of dollars in losses.

The collapse of specialist supply-chain finance firm Greensill Capital in early March trapped $10bn of client funds and $2.9bn remains unrecovered. Weeks later, the bank suffered a $5.5bn trading loss — the biggest in its 165-year history — following the implosion of highly-leveraged family office Archegos Capital.

Horta-Osório, the former Lloyds Banking Group chief executive, has said that under his leadership Credit Suisse is “committed to developing a culture of personal responsibility and accountability”. 

A major shareholder of the bank said he did not consider Horta-Osório’s actions worthy of resignation, but was disappointed that the chair had generated more negative headlines for the bank.

Credit Suisse’s stock has fallen 25 per cent this year, compared with a 30 per cent gain for its main rival UBS.

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