NEW YORK, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Legendary New York prosecutor Robert Morgenthau says he won a huge forfeiture from Credit Suisse only because he threatened criminal penalties.
Morgenthau, 90, who will retire this week after serving 35 years as New York County district attorney, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday that U.S. Treasury officials only wanted to impose civil penalties on the Swiss bank after he charged it with violating financial sanctions regulating dealings with Iran.
But, he said, the threat of jail time was needed to bring the high-flying financiers to justice.
The Journal quoted Morgenthau as saying Credit Suisse had been "stonewalling us" and only struck a deal to forfeit $536 million after he threatened to bring criminal charges to a grand jury.
"We would have gotten an indictment," he told the Journal.
In the case, Morgenthau charged bank officials with "stripping," in which bankers remove identifying markers on funds used in transactions. He alleged that Credit Suisse employees stripped out the identities of Iranian banks that were sending money used by entities involved in Tehran's nuclear weapons program.