Credit Suisse Group Will Have to Grant Access to Archives Containing Material Relevant to Slavery History

In the second half of the 18th century the semi-statal Bank Leu of Zurich was involved in a loan for the Danish crown which allowed Denmark to establish itself as a slaving nation in the Caribbean and in a plantation business on the island of St. Croix. But when historian Konrad Kuhn and lecturer Beatrice Ziegler of Zurich University requested access to the bank's archives on behalf of Zurich City Council to carry out further research, they were refused on grounds of the bank wanting to protect the privacy of their customers.

After the Swiss banks' refusal to cooperate with Jewish organisations in the conflict over the dormant bank accounts in the 1990s and their unwillingness to address their financial support of the apartheid system in South Africa, this is the third time that one of the major Swiss banks fails to understand that when crimes against humanity are concerned banking secretiveness is no longer acceptable.

Wednesday, 19th December, 2007, Zurich City Council discussed the behaviour of Credit Suisse and voted an a move by the left AL (Alternatives) demanding the city government to take action against the bank. The move was adopted by a 67:55 majority, which means that the mayor of Zurich will have to contact Credit Suisse executive council in order to grant access to their archives on grounds of Leu having been a semi-statal enterprise in the second half 18th century.