ZURICH May 12 Credit Suisse Chief
Executive Brady Dougan is under pressure from lawmakers to
resign over the Swiss bank's role in helping wealthy Americans
dodge taxes, a legal headache that could cost the bank as much
as $1.6 billion to resolve.
Switzerland's left-wing Social Democrats (SP) called for
Dougan to step down now saying he and other executives
represented part of the problem, as the Zurich-based lender
seeks to settle the tax evasion case with U.S. authorities.
"If you're justifying your high salary with the
responsibility you carry, then you cannot duck that
responsibility in an emergency," SP president Christian Levrat
said in a statement on Sunday.
Levrat's comments pair the hot-button issue of bankers' pay
in Switzerland with the long-running pursuit of Swiss banks by
U.S. authorities over untaxed funds held offshore, which has
intensified for Credit Suisse in recent weeks.
Credit Suisse lifted Dougan's pay by more than a quarter
last year to 9.8 million Swiss francs ($11.06 million), despite
not meeting all performance targets and a hike in litigation
costs related to the U.S. probe.
Centrist BDP politician Martin Landolt - a former banker who
spent three years at rival UBS - stopped short of
calling for Dougan to leave now, but said the banker might
consider resigning once the tax case is settled.
"When a solution for the U.S. problem is found, depending on
what the settlement is, I would find it appropriate for Dougan
to take responsibility and make way for a new beginning,"
Landolt told Reuters on Monday.
"This is necessary to ensure Credit Suisse's image doesn't
suffer, for client trust to be restored, and for the bank's own
Credit Suisse declined to comment.
Dougan, an U.S. citizen and 24-year veteran of Credit
Suisse, has been a lightning rod for pay criticism since 2010,
when a five-year share bonus programme topped up his regular
salary to 90 million francs.
Shareholders grilled Dougan and other top executives over
their pay at Credit Suisse's shareholder meeting on Friday, but
two pay-related votes were ultimately approved.
($1 = 0.8861 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting By Katharina Bart; Additional reporting by Oliver
Hirt and Joshua Franklin; Editing by Erica Billingham)