Credit Suisse was one of the creditors of the NSO Group. They demanded that the company continue to sell Pegasus despite the US ban.
As the Financial Times reports, the Swiss bank Credit Suisse, among others, pushed the NSO Group to continue selling to authoritarian governments receive. Supposedly, the creditors justified this by saying that authoritarian regimes used the hacking tool to silence dissenters.
Credit Suisse was one of the lenders to NSO Group
The lenders included Senator Investment Group, US investment bank Jefferies and Credit Suisse. In December of the previous year, the creditors submitted their claim in a joint letter. They urged NSO Group to resume business and look for new customers. Consultancy firm Berkeley Research Group (BRG) manages a fund that represents 70 percent in NSO holds. The lenders were concerned, according to the letter, because the BRG is said to have prevented NSO Group from acquiring new customers. This further aggravated the company’s liquidity crisis.
Creditors could have taken control
At the time of the request, a total of 10 lent millions of US dollars, with which the company was able to primarily realize salary payments to the NSO employees. The BRG replied to the combined creditors that they were concerned because they had been pushing for the sale of state-owned spyware Pegasus.
Manufacturers in distress after US blockade
The US blacklisting was announced after it was revealed that the Pegasus malware was used to hack the smartphones of journalists, activists and even the former wife of the billionaire ruler of Dubai. This plunged the NSO Group into significant financial difficulties. Without the money from Credit Suisse & Co., the company would probably no longer have been solvent. According to the media, it would even have been possible for the creditors to take control of the Israeli company.
Some banks are obviously not above anything
The incident proves that some banks and Wall Street firms funded the maker of the government malware. Pegasus and its producer has become known for numerous human rights violations. By the way, the documents came to light as a result of a court case. Neither party was willing to comment to the Financial Times.
All new customers are at high risk of abuse. At least one customer has already misused the hacking tool. Therefore, the BRG would “under no circumstances” allow the sale of Pegasus to such customers. Ten contracts are said to have even been terminated due to allegations of abuse. Instead, the company should initiate measures to have the US ban lifted.
Credit Suisse has already attracted negative attention several times
The case is part of a series of controversial incidents that began several decades ago. For example, Credit Suisse stored a deposit worth several hundred million US dollars over the long term. This was money that the National Socialists took from Jewish citizens to deposit in their accounts in Switzerland. Many years later, due to international pressure, the Holocaust victims were finally compensated.
2006 continued with a loan that the Mozambique rulers used to pay bribes target. The Credit Suisse money was actually intended to finance fishing projects in Mozambique. But that was not all. The list of mistakes is long. The collapse of Archegos and Greensill Capital and the Spygate saga of employee surveillance also attracted attention, to name just two other examples.
NSO Group is threatened with several lawsuits
The problem is far from over for the NSO Group either. The US ban means the company cannot buy equipment or services from US companies without permission. The company is also facing lawsuits from Apple and Meta. The products of both companies played a decisive role in the distribution of the commercially distributed malware Pegasus. What is meant are different versions of the iPhone and the Messenger WhatsApp.
About Lars Sobiraj
Lars Sobiraj started in 2000 as a career changer for various computer magazines. 2006 numerous other online magazines were added in addition to gulli.com. He is the founder of Tarnkappe.info. In addition, Ghandy, as he calls himself in the scene, has been teaching participants at various universities and training institutions since 2014 how the internet is working.