Credit Suisse admits chair Horta-Osório breached quarantine rules

Credit Suisse has admitted that António Horta-Osório, its chair, broke Swiss quarantine rules to fly in and out of the country within three days.

The Portuguese-British banker, who has promised a clean sweep of culture at the scandal-plagued bank, has apologised for travelling during a 10-day quarantine.

Horta-Osório had flown from London to Zurich on November 28, four days after quarantine rules were introduced in Switzerland following the identification of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

On December 1, the former Lloyds Bank chief executive flew out of the country, which was first reported by Swiss newspaper Blick.

“I unintentionally violated Swiss quarantine rules by leaving the country prematurely on December 1,” Horta-Osório said in a statement.

“I sincerely regret this mistake. I apologise and will ensure that this does not happen again.”

While in Switzerland, Horta-Osório said he stayed at home and conducted all meetings virtually, including giving a public speech.

The bank added: “Credit Suisse regretfully acknowledges that there has been a breach of quarantine rules linked to the travel activities of its chairman. Compliance with applicable laws and guidelines is a top priority for Credit Suisse and for the chairman personally.”

Horta-Osório is currently in New York for a Credit Suisse board meeting on Thursday, where directors are expected to finalise decisions on several senior executive roles at the bank, including the head of its newly formed global wealth management business, according to people briefed on the plans.

Switzerland rolled back its quarantine rules on December 4 and has made it easier for travel from the UK.

Since joining Credit Suisse in April, Horta-Osório has set about trying to fix cultural and risk-management problems that he blamed for twin crises that hit the bank in the days before he joined.

The group has spent most of the year trying to repair the damage from the collapse of specialist finance firm Greensill Capital in early March, which trapped $10bn of the Swiss bank’s client funds. Just weeks later, the bank suffered a $5.5bn trading loss — the biggest in its 165-year history — following the implosion of the family office Archegos Capital.

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