Credit Suisse’s Tidjane Thiam Denies Knowledge, Involvement in Spying

(Bloomberg) -- Tidjane Thiam said he didn’t know that former Credit Suisse Group AG international wealth management chief Iqbal Khan was put under surveillance until the police arrested those involved.

The Swiss bank’s chief executive officer said the operation may not have been escalated to him because those responsible didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. Thiam said earlier that he didn’t order the spying.

“I learned when there was an incident and people were arrested and my first reaction was to tell people to go to the general counsel,” Thiam said at a third-quarter results presentation that was overshadowed by questions about the spying affair.

Thiam’s comments on Wednesday mark his first public statements about the spying operation, a botched surveillance of Khan that sparked probes by Swiss prosecutors. The affair raised questions about the culture of Credit Suisse and how the incident could have happened without the CEO’s knowledge.

Former Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, Thiam’s chief lieutenant at three companies for more than 10 years, stepped down this month after ordering detectives to shadow former wealth-management head Khan to ensure he didn’t poach clients and brokers for his new team at UBS Group AG. Thiam distanced himself from Bouee, saying his relationship with Bouee was professional.

“I’m not sure you can describe him as a friend. We have been here four and half years, we may have had dinner once,” he said. “So that’s not how I define my friends. He is somebody I respect. I value him as a professional.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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