(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG’s largest shareholder reiterated his support for the bank’s top leadership after a recent spying scandal, casting doubt on key details of the drama and saying that the whole furor was stirred up by the leaks of a public relations firm in the press.
“The original story was completely exaggerated and blown out of proportion,” David Herro, deputy chairman of Chicago-based Harris Associates, said in a Bloomberg TV interview with Francine Lacqua on Friday. “The three tattooed guys watching him and threatening him -- as it turns out none of that ended up being true," he said, referring to an altercation between former international wealth management head Iqbal Khan and detectives following him.
A scandal erupted over Khan’s departure after it was reported that Credit Suisse had its former employee followed to make sure he didn’t try to encourage others to defect. The bank’s own probe led to the ouster of Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee, a key ally of the CEO, though it didn’t find any indication that Thiam was aware of the spying. Herro has consistently backed the CEO throughout the furor, which erupted last month.
Herro didn’t name the firm he was referring to.
"To make this into some big scandal as a result of a planted story by someone’s PR firm - I think that’s the real story," Herro said. “Security firms didn’t just exist because they have one client -- Credit Suisse -- they exist because they have numerous clients."
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