Former Swiss banking CEO found guilty of fraud

A Swiss court on Wednesday sentenced a former head of Raiffeisen banking group to three years and nine months in prison for fraud.

The accused, Pierin Vincenz, was pronounced guilty by the court on multiple counts of embezzlement, forgery of documents, and illegal deals in Zurich.

However. Vincenz, was found not guilty on other charges and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

His business partner, Beat Stocker, the former head of credit card company Aduno, now known as Viseca, was sentenced to four years for fraud.

Both also received fines and have the opportunity to appeal the verdict.

The prosecution had accused the two of secretly holding interests in companies that they encouraged their employers to buy, thereby making millions for themselves.

The lawyer representing Raiffeisen criticised the “substantial criminal energy of the accused.”

Vincenz had been CEO of the Raiffeisen group between 1999 and 2015, he was arrested in 2018.

The investigations revealed serious supervisory deficiencies in Raiffeisen and discovered over 100 dubious expenses claims made by Vincenz.

He had claimed almost 200,000 Swiss francs ($214,400) for visits to cabarets and strip clubs with business associates, using fake names such as “Crazy Paradise”and “Pussy Cat”.

In spite of the fake names, the claims had been signed off.

The defence for Vincenz and Stocker had rejected all the allegations, claiming that sums flagged by the prosecution as illegitimate profits were in fact loans.

The lawyer representing Vincenz also pointed out the success Raiffeisen enjoyed under his leadership.

Vincenz himself admitted to mistakes on the last day of the trial, but asked to be acquitted.

He said that it had always been his priority to look after Raiffeisen and its associated businesses.

Raiffeisen is the third largest banking group in Switzerland, behind UBS and Credit Suisse. (dpa/NAN)

PHOTO: Convicted Swiss banker Pierin Vincenz