Credit Suisse executives were told yesterday they would have been crucified in mediaeval times.

This came during a chaotic final shareholder meeting in a 15,000-capacity ice hockey stadium in northern Zurich.

The Telegraph says angry investors spent hours tearing into Credit Suisse’s management who oversaw the downfall of the 167-year-old lender.

The bank was taken over by arch rival UBS last month in a government-engineered deal to stave off a broader financial crisis.

Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann apologised to the bank’s exasperated shareholders who face large losses on their investments.

He said: “It is a sad day. For all of you, and for us. The bitterness, anger, and shock of all those who are disappointed, overwhelmed and affected by the developments of the past few weeks is palpable.”

Shotgun marriage

Mr Lehmann said he and his colleagues had “fought tirelessly” to try and save Credit Suisse, but admitted that the bank would have collapsed without the shotgun marriage with UBS.

He said: “The bank could not have been saved. There were only two options - deal or bankruptcy. The merger had to go through. The terms had to be accepted.”

Mr Lehmann, who only assumed the role of chairman last year, took responsibility for Credit Suisse’s fate. He said: “Those who are at the helm at the end, are responsible, too. Hence, including me.

“That week in March was like being wiped away by an avalanche. There was really not much more we could do.”

Ulrich Korner, the bank’s chief executive, said the end of Credit Suisse’s independence filled him with “sorrow”.

He said: “I understand that you feel disappointed, shocked, or angry. I share the disappointment of you, our shareholders, but I also share the disappointment of all of our employees, our clients, and, ultimately, the general public.”

Investors anger

The apologetic tone adopted failed to quell a wave of investor anger, with a long queue of upset Swiss lining up to air their grievances at the meeting.

The first shareholder to speak set the tone. Guido Rothlisberger told Credit Suisse’s board: “I didn’t bring my gun along today, don’t worry. I am wearing my red tie today to represent that I and many other shareholders are seeing red.

“I rather feel that I’ve been cheated by these institutions.”

Another investor said: “I can only remind you of what would have happened to you in mediaeval times - you would have been crucified.”

One investor offered the board a bag of empty walnut shells, saying they were worth as much as a share in Credit Suisse.

FTSE 100

The UK's top share index, the FTSE 100, was up eight points at 7,642 shortly after opening this morning, following yesterday's 38-point loss.

Brent crude futures were 0.49% higher at $85.36 a barrel.

Companies reporting today

  • Full-year results: EnQuest
  • Q4 results: Hilton Food Group
  • Trading update: RS Group

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