April 22, 2022
Fraud Friday – Former Swiss Banker of the Year Guilty of Fraud, Used Bank Funds at Strip Clubs and Tinder Dates
“[His] understanding, whereby practically all expenditures of a business person fall under disposable company expenses so long as any remote connection to the business activity exists, clearly went too far,” says Judge Sebastian Aeppli. “The relationship maintenance he carried out in cabarets, strip clubs and contact bars was no longer in the primary interest of Raiffeisen.”
The former CEO of Raiffeisen Switzerland, Pierin Vincenz, was found guilty of multiple charges of fraud, forgery, and embezzlement for making millions through illegal trades while working as chief executive, though he was acquitted on several counts. Vincenz and his co-conspirator Beat Stocker were the former chair and CEO, respectively, of the credit card company Aduno. The two would accumulate stakes in companies that were going to be taken over by Raiffeisen or Aduno knowing that they would rise in value.
During the trial, Pierin’s use of the bank’s credit card for improper expenses caught international attention. Including nearly 200,000 francs ($210,000) for strip club visits, he claimed that most of his visits to cabarets occurred after business dinners and events but others were made with the intention of meeting entrepreneurs and business managers. He states, “I fully stand by that these were justified by business”.
Other examples of his “business expenses” include:
• He took a woman that he met on the dating app Tinder to a 700 francs ($734) dinner, but he justified it by saying he was considering her for a real estate job.
• There was a 4,000 franc ($4,192) charge for the repairs of a damaged hotel room after a “massive row” with a strip club dancer he was dating at the time.
• He also charged the bank almost 27,000 francs ($28,300) for a private jet during a cooking club trip to Mallorca, a Balearic Island.
In addition to his 45-month sentence, he was fined 840,000 Swiss francs ($880,000), ordered to pay almost 1.6 million francs ($1.68 million) in damages to compensate firms he was involved with, and ordered to pay Raiffeisen over 260,000 francs ($272,000). Pierin’s lawyer told Reuters that they would appeal the verdict.