Raiffeisen report raises questions for Europe’s co-operatives

In his 16 years as chief executive of Switzerland’s Raiffeisen group, Pierin Vincenz aggressively expanded the country’s third-largest bank by assets.  A network of local co-operative banks, Raiffeisen is the biggest mortgage lender in the affluent Alpine state, where house prices scaled dizzy heights as its central bank drove interest rates deep into negative territory to battle a strong franc. But Mr Vincenz’s reign has attracted the attention of Swiss authorities for a different reason. A scathing report recently by the Finma financial supervisor into Mr Vincenz’s business dealings found serious corporate governance failings by Raiffeisen’s board, which allowed him “at least potentially, to generate personal financial gain at the bank’s expense”. Mr Vincenz, who left the bank in autumn 2015, is under investigation for mismanagement by public prosecutors in Zurich, and has spent 15 weeks held in jail. Mr Vincenz denies allegations he abused his position as chief executive.

 
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