ZURICH BlackRock Inc. (BLK.N) said Credit Suisse's CSGN.VX guilty plea in a U.S. tax evasion case does not affect its business relationship with the Swiss bank, the chief executive of the world's biggest asset manager told a Swiss newspaper.
Last month, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to a U.S. criminal charge and will pay more than $2.5 billion in penalties for helping Americans evade taxes.
Asked what consequences the guilty plea would have on BlackRock's business relationship with Credit Suisse, Larry Fink told Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft: "None at all, we'll continue to do business with Credit Suisse."
The newspaper said BlackRock was Credit Suisse's biggest counterparty, but a spokesman for the bank would not confirm this.
Ending the business relationship would only have been a realistic option if the bank had lost its banking license in the United States, Fink said in the interview published on Saturday.
He declined to comment on the case of BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) that is also under investigation by U.S. authorities to determine whether it evaded sanctions between 2002 and 2009. The French bank may have to pay a fine of about $10 billion and face other penalties such as being suspended from clearing clients' dollar transactions, sources have said.
Fink said that it was up to BlackRock's clients to decide how they wanted their money to be invested.
"If a customer asks us not to do business with a bank that has been found guilty, we have to respect that for that particular client," he said.
The head of Credit Suisse's private bank said earlier this month that the bank had lost a limited amount of business as a result of the guilty plea.
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, editing by David Evans)