Former Lloyds boss António Horta-Osório watched England defeat in the European Football Championship final at Wembley on the same day he allegedly broke quarantine rules to watch the Wimbledon men’s tennis final, according to a person. informed about their movements.
Horta-Osório resigned as chairman of Credit Suisse’s board of directors last weekend after the bank investigated allegations that he had repeatedly broken Covid-19 rules. He had managed just nine months setting the strategy for the struggling Swiss bank, even though he was hired to stabilize it after a series of scandals and disastrous client bankruptcies.
He publicly admitted breaking Swiss quarantine rules and apologized for what he described as an “unintentional” mistake. However, neither he nor Credit Suisse have commented on the allegations of rule-breaking in England.
Horta-Osório attended the Wimbledon tennis tournament on July 10 and 11, 2021, after flying from Switzerland to the United Kingdom. At the time, Switzerland was on the UK government’s amber list of countries that required arrivals to isolate for 10 days to prevent coronavirus infections.
The banker entertained Credit Suisse clients in the men’s final, in which Novak Djokovic came from a set down to beat Matteo Berrettini, according to a person close to him.
The European Championship ended later the same Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, with England losing to Italy 3-2 on penalties. Horta-Osório entertained a French Credit Suisse client and the client’s family, but also brought two of his children, using unused Credit Suisse hospitality tickets, a person close to him said. The Financial Times first reported his attendance at the game.
Banks, and wealth managers in particular, often welcome high-paying clients to sporting and cultural events as an incentive to keep them in business there, though the practice has dwindled since the financial crisis.
The Credit Suisse-led investigation also covered Horta-Osório’s use of the bank’s private jet. The chairman and another top Credit Suisse executive flew to Singapore for a week of meetings. On the return trip to Zurich, the plane is said to have stopped for refueling in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, where Horta-Osório joined his family for a holiday.
The person close to Horta-Osório said an internal Credit Suisse audit found all his use of the corporate jet was within the bank’s policies.
He will only receive one payment covering the nine months he worked at the bank, due to Swiss laws that prohibit large “golden parachute” payments for departing bosses. His salary during that period was 3.8 million Swiss francs (£3 million).
Horta-Osório was born and educated in Lisbon, where he gained his love of tennis, before embarking on a banking career that saw him move from his native Portugal to Brazil, Spain and then to the UK, where he was appointed by George Osborne, then the chancellor, to run Britain’s largest commercial bank, Lloyds Banking Group. He was paid in excess of £60m during his decade as director of Lloyds.
He is now a British citizen and was knighted in June, shortly before the alleged UK quarantine violations.
Credit Suisse declined to comment. A Horta-Osório spokesman declined to comment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism