Christian Wenger is one of the pullers of the banking and business city of Zurich. The leading partner of the law firm Wenger & Vieli has just started the Globus deal.
Now clouds are brewing over a bench where Wenger was central. We’re talking about the Falcon Private Bank. Wenger was on the Falcon Board of Directors from 2005 to 2017, most recently as President.
The Falcon announced yesterday that it was giving up its banking license and selling the customers.
The reasons are legacy issues and the failure of the current crew to give the Falcon a convincing future. The bank, which once had more than 300 members, disappears without a sound.
The big end is still ahead. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has launched proceedings against Falcon and the bank’s responsible persons and customers. This is nearing completion.
According to an insider, all interrogations have been completed, and the next step would be to indict. A trial at the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona would then be carried out, with the corresponding disclosure of a lot of explosive matters.
Who the Bern investigators are investigating against is not known. What you know is that Eduardo “Edi” Leemann, the long-time CEO of Falcon, in the sights of the federal prosecutor stands.
A recent ruling by the federal court shows the prominent role Leemann had played in the 1MDB case. It is a Malaysia sovereign wealth fund that has laundered billions of dollars in money laundering.
The Lausanne judges ruled against the former chief of the Falcon. The latter resisted a two-year ban on employing the Finma. He didn’t get through with it.
There are passages in the reasoning that show how many places involved in questionable money transfers were involved in the Falcon.
The loudest warned the officials of the Falcon branch in Singapore, over which the money flowed. The chief there later ended up in prison.
It was he of all people who criticized the pushing of the huge sums back and forth between 2011 and 2015. He ended up as a “wage” in a Singapore prison.
The chief of law at Zurich’s Falcon headquarters was also initially critical, but he submitted to the pressure from above to wave the deals through.
This pressure is “according to the employees’ perception” (Federal court ruling of March 11, 2020) was primarily exercised by the CEO of Falcon and its then president.
The latter is an emissary from a Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund to which the Falcon belongs.
The Abu Dhabi sheikh was later arrested in his home country. The 1MDB case grew into one of the largest money laundering scandals. Among others, the US icon Goldman Sachs was right in the middle.
The Falcon, as a medium-sized bank, got into a difficult imbalance. In 2016, Finma showed her the yellow card. One more failure, then it’s over.
The scepter was taken over by lawyer Christian Wenger as the new president. It is not known what Wenger heard as a member of the board in the “hot” years before. The owners from Arabia were in charge.
The long-time vice president of the Falcon, a Swede, actually conducted the board meetings because the Arabs were often absent. He did what they were told to do.
Among the customers was the Austrian René Benko, who is now asking Migros around the world to accommodate him and has his man for Zurich in Wenger.
And above all another “child prodigy”: Lars Windhorst. He’s been talking about himself for years. At Falcon, he was considered a major customer.
In the federal court ruling in March against the ex-lawyer of the Falcon there are passages around a customer who would have supported the controversial money transfers via the private bank.
It was not clear why this customer interfered, since he officially had nothing to do with these deals, said the Lausanne judges.
It is not clear which customer it is. That could change if the federal prosecutor publishes their indictment. One of the interviewees said that this should be the case before the summer holidays.
For lawyer Christian Wenger, the Falcon story is uncomfortable. He is at the top of Digital Switzerland, which wants to catapult the country into modern times. Wenger also has numerous mandates.