The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly looking into whether financial experts at prestigious universities helped Russian oligarchs avoid the nation's sanctions. Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS Group AG are allegedly two of the financial institutions under investigation.

According to a Bloomberg story, these particular Swiss banks were subject to a recent batch of subpoenas from the U.S. government. The information demands were made before to the crisis that rocked the 166-year-old bank and eventually resulted in UBS's planned takeover of its rival. Moreover, according to sources familiar with the investigations, subpoenas were also sent to the personnel of a number of significant American organizations.

According to the documents received, the Justice Department's current investigations are focused on identifying which bank employees dealt with "sanctioned customers" and how these clients were vetted over the period of several years. Then, additional inquiries into those bankers and advisers may be made in order to determine whether they violated any penalty legislation.

When Credit Suisse decided to stop doing business with Russia in May of last year, it kept more than $33 billion for specific Russian clients. Even though UBS had a bigger wealth management section, this was almost 50% more than UBS.

In the event that banks breach US sanctions, harsh fines may be applied. The Paris-based BNP Paribas agreed to pay almost $9 billion as part of the settlement after pleading guilty in 2014 to charges brought by the United States for transactions with firms that had been sanctioned by Sudan, Iran, and Cuba.

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