- A Swiss ex-banker faces charges of fraudulent transactions he made while heading a banking group.
- A court heard that he charged more than $217,000 spent on strip clubs on his company card.
- Pierin Vincenz told the court that his visits to strip clubs were business, according to reports.
A Swiss ex-banker on trial for fraud and once named “Banker of the Year” told a court on Tuesday that the $217,000 he spent in strip clubs was largely business related, according to reports.
Most of the charges against Pierin Vincenz, 65, relate to allegations of fraudulent deals between 2006 and 2017, while Reuters reported he headed the Swiss banking group Raiffeisen Switzerland.
But the details that have attracted the most attention in Switzerland revolve around his alleged misuse of his business 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 districts.”
On Tuesday, the opening day of Vincenz’s trial, prosecutors said the ex-banker had filed more than 500,000 Swiss francs ($537,000) in improper spending, according to Reuters.
Most notable was the $217,675 paid to strip clubs and burlesque bars, according to the Daily Beast. Vincenz spent about $97,000 at a burlesque cabaret theater, The Sunday Times reported, which he had deducted from his Raiffeisen company card.
“With regard to my visits to bars and nightclubs, I fully support my claim that these were justified by business,” Vincenz told a judge on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
The ex-banker claimed he went to the locations, sometimes alone, to develop his public profile and network with entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Other unusual charges were also found on his expense reports, according to reports. According to The Sunday Times, he spent $753 on food and drinks for someone he met on Tinder. Vincenz told a judge, the paper reported, that the expenses were legitimate 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 charged the bank for it.
Vincenz and his six co-defendants deny all charges against them of enrichment, fraud and mismanagement, the New York Post reported.
But during the trial, The Sunday Times said he had admitted “mistakes” regarding his corporate spending. One of those mistakes, the paper said, was spending more than $5,000 on his company credit card to repair a Zurich hotel room that had been vandalized in what prosecutors called a “huge argument” with a stripper.
According to The Sunday Times, the trial has attracted a lot of attention from the Swiss public. So much so that Tuesday’s hearing was moved from a court of law to a theater to accommodate the public.