February 23, 2011 - Phil Hodgen

Unaccountably, a Swiss banker travels to the United States

Christos Bagios, a Credit Suisse employee, has been arrested in the United States.

This is not legal advice, and I am not your lawyer.  But:

  • Do not travel to the United States.  Ever.
  • If you are flying to South America from Europe, do not change planes in the United States.  Ever.

Why would I be so cautious?  Read the first paragraph of the linked article and see where Mr. Bagios used to be employed–UBS.

Despite the fact that he is currently a Credit Suisse employee, I still like Bank Julius Baer’s chances as the next Swiss bank piñata for the U.S. government to beat up.  The fact that Credit Suisse has a fully U.S.-tax compliant unit in Zurich into which they have steered their U.S. customers tells me that the bank’s executives have taken a proactive approach to Keeping Things Clean.  This is not to say that individual employees of Credit Suisse (or any other institution) can’t go all cowboy ‘n stuff.  But the basic concepts are in place — segregate U.S. customers into their own little U.S.-compliant pod, in order to insulate the rest of the bank from contagion.



Here is a better article about the situation.  This article speculates that this arrest is an early indicator of scrutiny of Credit Suisse.

I’ve said it before.  I’ll say it again.  You will start to see powerhouse banks outside the United States that choose not to deal in US dollars and choose–as a business strategy–to avoid all contact with the United States.

Related to that, read the interview with Kevin Kelly about how he spent his 20’s traveling through Asia. Especially this:


Can you think of five ways travelling in Asia palpably changed you by the time you returned to live full time in the US?

1) Food. I had never seen non-white American food before I left. Horizon expanding.

2) Living with almost no technology while remaining content. Empowering.

3) Strangers who owned almost nothing would use their last rupees to feed you. Uplifting.

4) People were basically good; governments — including ours — were basically stupid. Enlightening.

5) Most of everything in the world — people, smarts, ideas, resources — were not in the US. Sobering.

Look at number 5, which I have helpfully put in bold text. This is a point of information that is apparently beyond the understanding of Federal politicians and bureaucrats.  Which, of course, supports point number 4.

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