Credit Suisse froze $10.6 billion worth of sanctioned assets in Q1
By Michael Shields and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi
ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse froze 10.4 billion Swiss francs ($10.63 billion) of wealthy clients’ assets in the first quarter under sanctions imposed in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the bank’s financial report showed on Thursday.
The Swiss bank’s financial report gave more details of its first-quarter results, which were originally published last week.
“In 1Q22, CHF 10.4 billion of assets under management were reclassified to assets under custody due to the imposed sanctions,” Credit Suisse said of its wealth management division.
The financial report showed that a 10.4 billion franc impact on the bank’s wealth management assets related to assets frozen due to sanctions.
The bank also said Russian clients now held less than 4% of assets under management in its wealth management businesses.
Last week, Credit Suisse had reported a first-quarter net loss of 273 million Swiss francs, dented by net litigation provisions of 703 million francs as well as a 206 million franc hit related to the Ukraine conflict.
The financial report published on Thursday showed gross impaired loans had risen by 230 million francs from end-2021 in wealth management.
Credit Suisse said this was “mainly driven by aviation and yacht finance, lombard lending, export finance and European mortgages, partially offset by a decrease in ship finance.”
“The increase in impaired loans included adverse impacts from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and related sanctions,” the bank said.
Credit Suisse said it was “continuously assessing the impact of sanctions already imposed, Russian government countermeasures and potential future escalations, on our exposures and client relationships”.
The bank also highlighted China’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns that have intensified worries about more disruptions to global supply chains and upward pressure on inflation.
Credit Suisse said liquidity and solvency concerns persisted in China’s property development sector, with potentially adverse impacts on China’s economy and on global markets.
“We closely monitor the risk management implications of these developments on our lombard loan portfolio in China, our trading and lending book exposures to Chinese local government- and state-owned enterprises as well as the accelerating default trend in the onshore corporate debt market.”
The bank specified that it expected a Bermuda court case to cost about $600 million.
A Bermuda court in March ruled that former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his family are due damages “substantially in excess of $500 million” from Credit Suisse’s local life insurance arm. The bank has said it intends to appeal the verdict.
($1 = 0.9784 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Michael Shields and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi, Editing by Kirsti Knolle, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Jane Merriman)