Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) sued its former vice president of emerging markets, Agostina Pechi, claiming she stole the bank’s trade secrets in a bid to win clients for her new employer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS).
In February and March, Pechi secretly sent e-mails with client lists and other confidential bank information from her work account to her personal inbox, and printed “critical transaction documents” late at night from her office, when she was supposed to be on vacation, Credit Suisse (CSGN) said in a complaint filed yesterday in state court in Manhattan.
Pechi, who made $950,000 last year and lives in New York, resigned from the Zurich-based bank on April 2, telling Credit Suisse’s human-resources department she was accepting a position at New York-based Goldman Sachs (GS), according to the complaint.
“Pechi decided to steal confidential Credit Suisse information and contacts that she had learned during the course of her employment for Credit Suisse,” according to the complaint. She plans to use the data “to compete with Credit Suisse, and intends to provide this information to her new employer to specifically target Credit Suisse’s clients.”
A message left on a mobile phone listed for Pechi, seeking comment on the lawsuit, wasn’t immediately returned yesterday. Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Credit Suisse, the second-biggest Swiss bank, alleges Pechi started systematically taking secret bank data by at least Feb. 4, when she e-mailed “highly confidential deal-structuring documents” related to a sensitive deal with a client.
Around March 19, Pechi allegedly sent an e-mail to herself containing databases that she had helped build with the bank’s emerging markets team. She’s also accused of sending her client list from Credit Suisse, as well as client lists that she didn’t personally cover and other “important contacts in the emerging markets space,” according to the complaint.
“There is no question that the databases that Pechi mailed to herself were and are the property of Credit Suisse, developed by Credit Suisse using its own resources,” the bank said in the complaint.
Credit Suisse (CSGN) also claims Pechi deliberately obscured the status of deals with a critical client and in one case, told the bank the client had a “flagging” interest in current and future business while meeting with them on her own.
“Pechi held these in-person meetings in an effort to shore up her relationship with the client in preparation for her departure, and to explicitly discuss moving its business to Pechi’s new firm,” according to Credit Suisse’s complaint. “Based upon Pechi’s representations, senior Credit Suisse employees did not meet with the client.”
The Swiss bank claims that after Pechi resigned, she cooperated with a probe into her activities, including allowing Credit Suisse’s third-party investigators to search some of her personal effects at her home on April 12, and granting them access to her personal e-mail and work BlackBerry.
When about 60 bank e-mails were located in her personal account, she agreed to let investigators review them the next day, and then allegedly deleted them before they had a chance, Credit Suisse claims.
“Less than 24 hours later, the e-mails had been deleted from Pechi’s personal e-mail account and could not be recovered, despite the fact that Pechi was aware that Credit Suisse’s investigators had returned solely to extract these 60 emails,” the bank said.