UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse blames former COO for covering up second spying case

Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

(Adds details and background)

ZURICH, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse on Monday cleared CEO Tidjane Thiam and other top executives from knowledge of a second spying incident, saying former Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee had the Swiss bank's then-head of human resources followed in February and covered it up.

Switzerland's second-biggest bank confirmed it was behind the second internal spying scandal to surface this year after a newspaper report last week detailed former HR head Peter Goerke's tailing.

The matter comes as an embarrassment to Credit Suisse after an earlier probe into spying on wealth management executive Iqbal Khan depicted the incident as a one-off.

"The observation of Peter Goerke, which has now been confirmed, is inexcusable," Chairman Urs Rohner said in a statement, noting "grave concern" that those responsible for the tailing had not mentioned it during the earlier probe.

"We are aware that the observations of Iqbal Khan and Peter Goerke have damaged the reputation of our bank," he said.

An investigation by law firm Homburger into spying on Khan -- which became public in September after the departing executive confronted a private detective pursuing him and his wife through Zurich, triggering a criminal probe -- found Bouee and the security boss under him were alone responsible for the order and found no evidence of other cases.

Both resigned, and now Bouee has been sacked.

The latest probe, also conducted by Homburger, determined Bouee had lied when asked about any other surveillance orders and had taken care not to leave any identifiable traces in the bank's systems. (Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Michael Shields)