Did Credit Suisse CEO Dougan Commit Perjury?
Posted by Larry Doyle on March 3, 2014 8:55 AM |
Perjury is a very serious offense or at least it is supposed to be.
If our system of justice and Congressional oversight do not uphold the law against those who commit or may have committed perjury, what does that say about the rule of law in our nation?
In my opinion, a situation in which perjury occurs and goes unpunished is another nail in the coffin holding the American ‘rule of law.’
To this end, let’s navigate and look a little deeper into a high profile case centered on Wall Street in which the immediate question begs whether Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan committed perjury in providing Congressional testimony last week.
For those who may have missed it, Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan went in front of Congress last week to testify regarding the bank’s practices that allowed US citizens to illegally evade taxes. Dougan offered the following standard Wall Street excuse:
The American-born CEO told a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that he and other top managers were not aware a small group of Credit Suisse private bankers had helped U.S. customers evade taxes with offshore accounts.
“The evidence showed that some Swiss-based private bankers went to great lengths to disguise their bad conduct from Credit Suisse executive management,” Dougan told the senators.
Simply a few rogue bankers in a far off branch going to great lengths to disguise bad conduct? Does that sound similar to Wall Street management’s singling out a few rogue traders for the manipulation of Libor or other markets including various currencies and commodities? It certainly does to me.
Not widely disseminated in these parts, the folks in Switzerland had a strong reaction to his pointing the finger at the ‘small group of private bankers.’
. . . staff at Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks reacted with astonishment to Dougan’s comments, saying it was “hardly credible” that the bank’s bosses knew nothing of the practices.
“It was common knowledge that tax evasion was the strategy, a business model pursued by many banks for a long time,” the Schweizerischer Bankpersonalverband said in a statement.
It said Dougan’s comments “vilify lots of employees that had nothing to do with offshore U.S. banking”, and demanded he apologize to the bank’s 46,000 staff.
The comments may have been motivated by efforts to lessen the bank’s penalties in the United States, but Dougan still owes staffers an explanation, the employee group said.
More than 22,000 Americans were using Credit Suisse to park combined assets of $12 billion at one time, according to a report released by the U.S. Senate ahead of Wednesday’s hearings.
While the Swiss may want an apology, the question I ask is whether Congress wants the truth.
Will Congress reconvene and call Dougan and staff both on the carpet simultaneously and try to get to the truth, that is the virtue upon which our nation’s laws rest? Does Congress have any appreciation that the ongoing degradation of the rule of law has a meaningful impact in terms of eroding any measure of trust and confidence in our markets, economy, and social fabric? Or is Dougan’s testimony merely another example that in order to occupy the corner office in a Wall Street bank you have to be a sociopath?
All great questions but regrettably it strikes me that it is blatantly obvious that the truth holds little standing when it comes to matters such as these.
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The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.