Swiss Ex-Banker Spent $217k in 20-Year ‘Tour of Red-Light Zones,’ Court Hears

  • A Swiss ex-banker is on trial relating to allegations of fraudulent deals made while he headed a banking group.
  • A court heard that he charged more than $217,000 spent on strip clubs to his company card.
  • Pierin Vincenz told the court that his visits to strip clubs were business-related, per reports.

A Swiss ex-banker who is on trial for fraud and was once honored as the “banker of the year” told a court on Tuesday that the $217,000 he spent at strip clubs was largely business-related,according to reports.

Most of the charges against Pierin Vincenz, 65, are related to allegations of fraudulent deals made between 2006 and 2017, while Reuters reported that he headed up the Swiss banking group Raiffeisen Switzerland. 

But the details drawing the most attention in Switzerland revolve around his alleged misuse of his corporate expense account, the news agency said.

According to The Sunday Times, Vincenz is accused of using his company credit card to fund what the prosecutor called a 20-year “tour de Suisse of the red-light zones.”

On Tuesday, the opening day of Vincenz’s trial, Prosecutors said that the ex-banker had filed over 500,000 Swiss francs ($537,000) in improper expenses, per Reuters.

Most notable was the $217,675 paid to strip clubs and burlesque bars, according to the Daily Beast. Vincenz spent approximately $97,000 at one burlesque cabaret theatre, The Sunday Times reported, which he charged to his Raiffeisen company card.

“With regard to my visits to bars and nightclubs, I fully stand by my assertion that these were justified by business,” Vincenz told a judge Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The ex-banker reportedly claimed that he went to the venues, sometimes alone, to develop his public profile and network with entrepreneurs and business managers.

Other unusual charges were also found on his expenses bills, per reports. He spent $753 on dinner and drinks for someone he met on Tinder, according to The Sunday Times. Vincenz told a judge, the newspaper reported, that it was legitimate spending because he was considering his Tinder date for a real estate job.

The 65-year-old was also accused of spending 27,000 Swiss francs ($29,000) on a private jet to fly to the Spanish island of Mallorca for a cooking class and charging that it to the bank.

Vincenz and his six co-defendants deny all allegations against them of enrichment, fraud, and mismanagement, the New York Post reported.

But, during the trial, The Sunday Times said he admitted to “mistakes” regarding his corporate expenses. One of these errors, the newspaper said, was spending more than $5,000 on his company credit card to repair a Zurich hotel room wrecked in what prosecutors called a “massive row” with a stripper.

The trial has attracted widespread attention from the Swiss public, according to The Sunday Times. So much so, in fact, that the hearing on Tuesday was moved from a court to a theatre in order to seat members of the public.

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