Nick Shaxson ■ How Swiss banks moved their evasion experts to Latin America

Stéphanie Gibaud, whistleblower

Stéphanie Gibaud, whistleblower

An interview with Swiss banking whistleblower Stéphanie Gibaud in the Buenos Aires Herald (hat tip: Jorge Gaggero). It’s fascinating. We’ll post just a couple of excerpts here, and advise readers to look at the whole thing.

For instance:

“I did public relations for the bank, which means you travel everywhere and entertain the clients so that they place their money with you rather than your competitors. The biggest part of the budget in the area I managed was to develop links with luxury networks to invite clients and potential clients in France.”

In the interview, the issue of ‘penetrating networks of people’ looms quite large. More specifically:

“I have their sales strategy. There are different ones, for different networks, there was one for football and tennis players, for example.
. . .
When you are a client adviser it’s as if you sold cars: you have a sales quota, but instead of selling 20 or 30 Mercedes a year your objective is to attract say 5, 10 or 15 million into the bank, depending on whether you are a junior adviser or a more senior one. You must have net new money coming in. To reach these goals there are lots of internal tools, explanations on how to do it.”

And here is another key point: something that we have pointed out several times before. In light of pressure from judicial authorities in the United States and elsewhere, Swiss banking predation has shifted its focus to more vulnerable developing and emerging economies like Argentina’s.

“When the US case against UBS emerged in 2009, Switzerland anticipated that European and US regulators would move against these banks so, by 2009-10, UBS started to focus its business on the BRICS, trying to penetrate networks of potencial clients in developing markets. . . . other Swiss banks probably did likewise.”

As we said, there’s lots more in this excellent interview.

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