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International law firm to litigate for Credit Suisse AT1 bond holders


A multi-disciplinary team from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States has been instructed by key holders of Credit Suisse’s AT1 capital instruments to represent them in discussions with Swiss authorities and possible litigation to recover losses suffered following the announcement of a merger between UBS and Credit Suisse.

The growing bondholder group holds a significant percentage of the total notional value of the AT1 instruments issued by Credit Suisse. Quinn Emanuel received its mandate on Thursday, 30th March 2023.

“We are extremely pleased to have been retained by a key AT1 bondholder group and now look forward to seeking compensation for our clients, drawing on our extensive experience in situations of this kind,” said Richard East, Quinn Emanuel’s Senior Partner in London.

Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann apologised to investors at the fallen bank’s final AGM this week, calling it a “sad day”. At the AGM shareholders were asking Credit  Suisse management for more information on the circumstances of the takeover by UBS. Most Swiss votes polled want to see Credit Suisse carved up into multiple smaller banks rather than awarded to UBS.

“This mandate is a perfect fit for our seamless multijurisdictional insolvency and asset recovery practices,” added Dennis Hranitzky, a U.S. and London-based partner who heads of the firm’s Sovereign Litigation and Global Asset Recovery practices.

Big investors are already tackling the issue head on with Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, one of the biggest shareholders in Credit Suisse, voting against the majority of the board. Julius Baer chief executive Philipp Rickenbacher in an interview with the Financial Times hinted that the whole Swiss banking sector faced major reputational damage with investors if the scandal is not sorted out adequately. Its primacy is not “god given” he said.

$17 billion in bonds wiped out

The litigation from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan comes after the rescue of Credit Suisse by UBS on 19th March, which led to $17 billion worth of Credit Suisse AT1 bonds being wiped out.

“There is still a chance that the various actors will recognise and correct the mistakes made in hastily orchestrating this merger,” said Thomas Werlen, Managing Partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (Schweiz) GmbH. “While we are certainly prepared to pursue whatever proceedings are necessary, a potential constructive engagement with the relevant stakeholders could prevent years of litigation. That will be an important focus for us over the coming weeks.”

Quinn Emanuel is advising a diverse array of affected bondholders, including large institutions who invested in these instruments long before the merger was announced.

Added Werlen: “Although we unfortunately cannot represent every bondholder who has been affected by the write-down of the bonds, we have set up a website where all investors can find updates, key documents and press releases pertinent to this matter.”

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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