Process for former Raiffeisen boss in Switzerland: “Strip club visits were business”

Pierin Vincenz, former head of Raiffeisen before the start of the trial in Zurich

Prosecutor: 200,000 francs spent in strip clubs and contact bars.

(Photo: Reuters)

Zurich The most sensational economic process in 15 years began in Switzerland on Tuesday. The public prosecutor’s office accuses the former head of the Swiss banking group Raiffeisen, Pierin Vincenz, of fraud, embezzlement and forgery of documents, among other things.

According to the prosecution, Vincenz charged the institute with expenses that had nothing to do with his job as head of the bank. He spent over 200,000 francs in strip clubs and contact bars. “These were business-related reasons,” explained Vincenz in court.

After business dinners, he repeatedly visited such places with a small group of people and continued the talks there. When asked what he spent the money on, Vincenz said: “These were drinks, including bottled wine, quite expensive, and champagne. However, we were more of a wine drinker.” In the clubs and bars he also tried again and again to get to know entrepreneurs and win them over as customers.

When asked by the judges why he used the company credit card to settle dinner with a woman he had met through the dating app Tinder, Vincenz said she was looking for a job. “I met a lot of people personally, especially in the cities, and wanted to convince them of Raiffeisen. I was on the road for Raiffeisen day and night.”

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He invited people like that over and over again.

Postponement of the process was denied

The postponement of the trial requested by Vincenz’s lawyers and other defendants was rejected. In addition to expenses, the judiciary is also targeting company takeovers, for which Vincenz was responsible as head of Raiffeisen and as president of the credit card company Aduno.

Vincenz and his attorney during an adjourned trial

According to the public prosecutor, Vincenz was covertly involved in the takeover targets. According to the public prosecutor’s office, he had brought in an unlawful personal gain of almost nine million francs. “I didn’t feel like I was doing anything criminal here,” Vincenz said.

The process goes beyond the usual dimensions in Switzerland. Instead of in the courthouse, the proceedings began in a concert hall in Zurich. Among other things, the interest of the public has to do with the fact that Vincenz, as ex-CEO of the third-largest Swiss banking group, was one of the best-known managers in the country.

In contrast to the top executives of the other big banks, he was close to the people, in 2014 he was named “Banker of the Year” by a magazine. Critics also admit that he helped Raiffeisen achieve strong growth.

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