Suisse Secrets

Credit: James O'Brien/OCCRP
Published: February 20, 2022

Swiss banks have been synonymous with secrecy for decades, conjuring up visions of vast riches safely held in mountain vaults. It's a strong brand — one Switzerland's government does everything it can to protect.

But what's good for the banks' wealthy clients can be bad for everyone else. When corrupt politicians or organized criminals turn to Switzerland to keep their money safe from prying eyes, the victims of their crimes will likely never see it again. And once dirty money makes it into a Swiss bank account, it's free to go anywhere.

Switzerland's draconian banking secrecy laws have made it nearly impossible for other governments or journalists to hold the industry to account. Until now.

Through our partner, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, OCCRP obtained leaked records on more than 18,000 Credit Suisse accounts, the largest leak ever from a major Swiss bank. This is just a small subset of the bank's overall holdings, but we still found dozens of dubious characters in the data, including an Algerian general accused of torture, the children of a brutal Azerbaijani strongman, and even a Serbian drug lord known as Misha Banana.

Read on to learn more about what we — and our media partners on five continents — found in the data.

The Big Picture

Historic Leak of Swiss Banking Records Reveals Unsavory Clients

Despite two decades of pledges by Credit Suisse to crack down on illegitimate funds, data leaked from the bank reveals that it catered to dozens of criminals, dictators, intelligence officials, sanctioned parties and political actors with outsized wealth.

20 February 2022 Read the article

What is Suisse Secrets? Everything You Need to Know About the Swiss Banking Leak

Suisse Secrets is an international investigation into one of the world’s wealthiest and most important banks.

20 February 2022 Read the article

Who's in the Suisse Secrets Leak?

Stories from the Vaults

Sons of Azerbaijani Strongman Vasif Talibov Received Millions From Money Laundering Systems

Having opened bank accounts with Credit Suisse, Barclays, and other foreign banks, Rza and Seymur Talibov received over $20 million in suspicious wire transfers, even as the people of the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan suffered under their father’s dictatorial rule.

20 February 2022 Read the article

More Key Clients

New revelations coming soon ...

Features and Opinions

‘They’re on Their Own’: Azerbaijan’s Totalitarian Fortress

In the autonomous Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan, Vasif Talibov’s word is law. He has ruled over the isolated territory through fear and violence — even as his sons held millions in their Swiss bank accounts.

20 February 2022 Read the article

Banking Secrecy is the Superpower of Kleptocracy

Big banks play a major role in helping criminals and crooked politicians move their money out of poor countries, and keep it safe in rich ones.

23 February 2022 Read the article

Additional Materials

News About Suisse Secrets

The Project Team

Journalists: Aladin Abdagic (CIN), Mohamed Aboelgheit (OCCRP), Vyacheslav Abramov (OCCRP/Vlast), Mercedes Agüero R. (Trece Costa Rica Noticias), Idris Akinbajo (Premium Times), Moussa Aksar (L'Evenement), Aaron Albright (Miami Herald), Abdulwahed Al-Obaly (OCCRP), Maha All Rashid (OCCRP), Mark Anderson (OCCRP), Cecilia Anesi (Irpimedia), Eldiyar Arykbaev (OCCRP), Mubarek Asani (CIN), Juliet Atellah (OCCRP), Olgah Atellah (OCCRP), Anna Babinets (Slidstvo.info), Edik Baghdasaryan (Hetq), Lorenzo Bagnoli (Irpimedia), Eric Barrett (OCCRP), Antonio Baquero (OCCRP), Jérémie Baruch (Le Monde), Benjamin Barthe (Le Monde), Sophia Baumann (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Rahma Behi (Alqatiba), Kelly Bloss (OCCRP), Massimo Bognanni (WDR), Natalia Abril Bonilla (OCCRP), Nina Bovensiepen (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Birgit Brauer (OCCRP), Romy van der Burgh (Investico), Aderito Caldeira (Verdade), Denica Chadikovska (IRL), Luc Caregari (Reporter.lu), Lindita Cela (OCCRP), Umar Cheema (OCCRP), Martin Chulov (The Guardian), Romina Colman (OCCRP), Xavier Counasse (Le Soir), Saska Cvetkovska (IRL), Shirsho Dasgupta (Miami Herald), Antonio Delgado (Miami Herald), David Dembele (Dépêches du Mali), Roberto Deniz (Armando.info), Aleksandra Denkovska (IRL), Momar Dieng (Impact.sn), Stevan Dojčinović (OCCRP/KRIK), Jesse Drucker ( New York Times), Alex Dziadosz (OCCRP), Metin Dzhumagulov (OCCRP/Kloop), Joachim Dyfvermark (SVT), Mohamed Ebrahem (OCCRP), David Enrich (New York Times), Jared Ferrie (OCCRP), Casey Frank (Miami Herald), Brian Fitzpatrick (OCCRP), Misha Gagarin (OCCRP), Emilia Garbsch (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Michael Gibb (freelance), Eduardo Goulart (OCCRP), Lena Gürtler (NDR), Lisa Maria Hagen (NDR), Kai Evans (OCCRP), Kevin Hall (OCCRP), Lyas Hallas (Twala.info), Luke Harding (The Guardian), Caroline Henshaw (OCCRP), Ben Hubbard (The New York Times), David Ilieski (IRL/OCCRP), Shinovene Immanuel (The Namibian), Nigar Isgandar (OCCRP), Aidan Iusubova (OCCRP/iFact), Jelena Jevtić (CIN), Mathias J. (OCCRP), Johannes Jolmes (NDR), Peter Jones (OCCRP), Josy Joseph (The Confluence), Maja Jovanovska (IRL), Volkmar Kabisch (NDR), Antonius Kempmann (NDR), Rattanaporn Khamenkit (Prachatai), Matthew Kupfer (OCCRP), Yanina Korniienko (Slidstvo.info), Erin Klazar (OCCRP), Elena Kuch (NDR), Karlijn Kuijpers (Investico), Valentina Lares (OCCRP/Armando.info), Paul Lewis (Guardian), Alexandra Li (OCCRP), Ilya Lozovsky (OCCRP), Kalyeena Makortoff (Guardian), Patricia Marcano (Armando.info), Samson Martirosyan (Hetq), Joël Matriche (Le Soir), Dmitriy Mazorenko (OCCRP/Vlast), Walid Mejri (Alqatiba), Stefan Melichar (profil), Anne Michel (Le Monde), Hulda Miranda (Interferencia de Radioemisoras UCR), Delfín Mocache (Diario Rombe), Eli Moskowitz (OCCRP), Mauritius Much (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Dumisani Muleya (NewsHawks), Hannes Munzinger (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Ruslan Myatiev (Turkmen News), John-Allan Namu (Africa Uncensored), Ivana Nasteska (IRL), Will Neal (OCCRP), Michael Nikbakhsh (profil), Ahmad Noorani (OCCRP), Marr Nyang (Gambia), Frederik Obermaier (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Bastian Obermayer (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Dapo Olorunyomi (Premium Times), Stelios Orphanides (OCCRP), Miranda Patrucic (OCCRP), Gianluca Paolucci (La Stampa), David Pegg (Guardian), Micael Pereira (Expresso), Dragana Pećo (OCCRP/KRIK), Joseph Poliszuk (Armando.info), Mirjana Popovic (CIN), Paul Radu (OCCRP), Renata Radić Dragić (CIN), Manuel Rico (Infolibre), Iván Ruiz (Infobae - Arg), Mariel Fitz Patrick (Infobae - Arg), Sandra Crucianelli (infobae - Arg), Hugo Alconada Mon (La Nación - Arg), Thomas Saintourens (Le Monde), Rami Salim (Libya), Sana Sbouai (OCCRP), Ewald Scharfenberg (Armando.info), Khadija Sharife (OCCRP), Karina Shedrofsky (OCCRP), Laurent Schmit (Reporter.lu), Jörg Schmitt (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Trifun Sitnikovski (IRL ), Graham Stack (OCCRP), Tom Stocks (OCCRP), Bojan Stojanovski (IRL), Jan Strozyk (OCCRP), Benedikt Strunz (NDR), Drew Sullivan (OCCRP), Yiamyut Sutthichaya (Prachatai), Joan Tilouine (Le Monde), Beauregard Tromp (OCCRP), Alina Tsogoeva (OCCRP), Jurre van Bergen (OCCRP), Maxime Vaudano (Le Monde), Aris Velizelos (SVT), Faustine Vincent (Le Monde), Sharad Vyas (OCCRP), Julia Wacket (NDR), Julia Wallace (OCCRP), Jay Weaver (Miami Herald), Laura Weffer (OCCRP/Efecto Cocuyo), Ben Wieder (Miami Herald), Ralf Wiegand (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Johan Wikén (SVT), Jonny Wrate (OCCRP), James G. Wright (OCCRP), Martin Young (OCCRP), Kira Zalan (OCCRP), Madjid Zerrouky (Le Monde), Amra Džonlić Zlatarević (OCCRP)

Fact-Checking: Birgit Brauer, Inna Civirjic, Sergiu Ipatii, Ivana Jeremić, Olena LaFoy, Bojana Pavlović, Dima Stoianov, Rebekah Ward

Promotion: Will Neal, Charlie Turner

Design and Graphics: James O'Brien and Edin Pašović, in collaboration with Süddeutsche Zeitung

Web and Interactive: Mark Nightingale

Project Coordination: OCCRP (global) and Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany)

Media Partners:

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