UBS sells Credit Suisse jet used by Horta-Osório during Covid breaches

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UBS has sold the Credit Suisse corporate jet that the collapsed bank’s then-chair, António Horta-Osório, used when breaching Covid lockdown rules to attend high-profile sporting events.

The Dassault Falcon 7X was sold in recent weeks to a German subsidiary of French bank Société Générale that specialises in aircraft leasing, ownership documents seen by the Financial Times show. The sale price was not disclosed.

People with knowledge of the decision said the sale had been planned by Credit Suisse’s management team before its rescue by UBS this year. UBS executives have pushed through the sale after criticising Credit Suisse’s high risk-taking and high-reward culture.

Flight records obtained by the FT show Horta-Osório used the jet to fly into London to watch the Wimbledon tennis finals and the final of football’s European Championships on the same day in July 2021.

Credit Suisse board investigations of Horta-Osório’s frequent use of the bank’s corporate jets as well as at least two breaches of Covid travel restrictions — including on the London trip — led to his departure as chair of the group at the start of last year, after just nine months.

Flight records show that the Falcon 7X was used on another trip investigated by the Credit Suisse board, where Horta-Osório accompanied another senior executive on a flight from Singapore to Zurich just 10 days after the London trip.

Horta-Osório suggested the jet stop in the Maldives on the way for refuelling, where he disembarked to join his family for a holiday.

While his use of the company’s private jets angered some board members, an internal audit report seen by the FT found that it was in line with his predecessor’s use and that any additional expenses had been repaid.

Among other owners of the Falcon 7X are Taylor Swift and former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Credit Suisse is still the registered owner of another private aircraft, a Bombardier Global 7500 — once known as the world’s most expensive corporate jet and dubbed the “Ferrari of the skies” — which was bought two years ago for more than $75mn, according to people familiar with the transactions.

People close to the company said Credit Suisse holds the title to the aircraft through its aviation leasing division as security against financing provided to a client.

The Global 7500 is owned by celebrities including reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who owns a pink model.

The aircraft — which has four living spaces, including a private bedroom, seating area, dining room and cinema — can fly for 7,700 nautical miles at a time, reaching altitudes higher than commercial jets, allowing for longer and faster flights.

UBS and SocGen declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Robert Smith

This article has been updated to clarify the ownership of the Bombardier Global 7500 jet.

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