The New York Times notes that Credit Suisse has done what no other bank of its size and significance has done in over two decades: plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing. In a sign that banking giants are no longer immune from criminal charges, despite concerns that financial institutions have grown so large and interconnected that they are too big to jail, federal prosecutors demanded that Credit Suisse's parent company plead guilty to helping thousands of American account holders hide their wealth.
As part of a deal, the Swiss bank met the demands, agreeing to one count of conspiring to aid tax evasion in a scheme that “spanned decades.” Credit Suisse, which has a giant investment bank in New York and whose chief executive is an American, will also pay about $2.6 billion in penalties and hire an independent monitor for up to two years. The rebuke from is intended as a blow against overseas tax dodging and the shadowy world of Swiss bank secrecy. Yet for Credit Suisse, other than the fines and the reputational stain of being a felon, the implications are likely to be limited.