Former ‘Banker of the Year’ tells court he spent $217,000 at strip clubs on company credit cards for business reasons

Pierin Vincenz, former CEO of Swiss bank Raiffeisen, arrives ahead of a trial outside the Volkshaus theater in Zurich, Switzerland January 25, 2022.Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

  • A former Swiss banker is on trial for allegations of fraudulent transactions carried out while he headed a banking group.

  • A court heard he charged more than $217,000 spent at strip clubs to his company card.

  • Pierin Vincenz told the court his visits to strip clubs were business-related, according to reports.

An ex-Swiss banker who is on trial for fraud and once honored as ‘Banker of the Year’ said in court on Tuesday that the $217,000 he spent on strip clubs was largely related to business,according to reports.

Most of the charges against Pierin Vincenz, 65, relate to allegations of fraudulent transactions made between 2006 and 2017, while Reuters reported he ran Swiss banking group Raiffeisen Switzerland..

But the details that are attracting the most attention in Switzerland revolve around his alleged misuse of his business expense account, the news agency said.

According to The Sunday Times, Vincenz is accused of using his company’s credit card to finance what the prosecutor called a 20-year “tour of Switzerland’s red zones”.

On Tuesday, the day Vincenz’s trial opened, prosecutors said the ex-banker had deposited more than 500,000 Swiss francs ($537,000) in improper expenses, according to Reuters.

Most notable was the $217,675 paid out to strip clubs and burlesque bars, according to the Daily beast. Vincenz spent around $97,000 on a burlesque cabaret, The Sunday Times reported, which he charged to his Raiffeisen corporate card.

“As for my visits to bars and nightclubs, I fully stand by my assertion that these were justified by business,” Vincenz told a judge on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The ex-banker is said to have claimed that he went to the scene, sometimes alone, to develop his public profile and his network with entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Other unusual charges were also found on his expense reports, according to reports. He spent $753 on dinner and drinks for someone he met on Tinder, according to The Sunday Times. Vincenz told a judge, the newspaper reported, that it was a legitimate expense because he was considering his Tinder date for a real estate job.

The 65-year-old was also accused of spending 27,000 Swiss francs ($29,000) on a private jet to the Spanish island of Mallorca for a cooking class and charging the Bank.

Vincenz and his six co-defendants deny all allegations against them of enrichment, fraud and mismanagement, the The New York Post reported.

But, at trial, The Sunday Times said he admitted to “errors” over his business spending. One such mistake, according to the newspaper, was spending more than $5,000 on his company credit card to repair a destroyed Zurich hotel room in what prosecutors called a ‘huge row’. with a stripper.

The trial has caught the attention of the Swiss public, according to the Sunday Times. So much so, in fact, that Tuesday’s hearing was moved from a court to a theater in order to seat members of the public.

Read the original article at Business Intern

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