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HSBC money cult where all the crooks go for protection

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:21 pm    Post subject: HSBC money cult where all the crooks go for protection Reply with quote

Ex-spy boss Sir Jonathan Evans to help HSBC in fight against financial crime

Bank hires former head of MI5 to clean up its act after being fined by US authorities
James Moore - Friday 31 May 2013
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/exspy-boss-sir-jonatha n-evans-to-help-hsbc-in-fight-against-financial-crime-8639708.html

It sounds like a plot from a novel by Dame Stella Rimington: bank hires former spymaster to help catch sinister international criminals blamed for damaging its reputation.

Except that this is a true story. HSBC has hired one of Dame Stella’s successors as chief spymaster at MI5 in the form of Sir Jonathan Evans.

Sir Jonathan has been appointed to help Britain’s biggest bank to clean up its act after US authorities fined it nearly $2bn (£1.3bn) for acting as a conduit for Mexican drug money and sanctions busting.

He will earn £125,000 for serving on HSBC’s Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee as well as joining its board as a non-executive director. The fee for the part-time roles compares to the £159,999 he was paid for his role at the head of Britain’s domestic spy agency in 2010, which was the last time it revealed his salary.

Sir Jonathan will put in 36 days a year for his work on the board, plus an unspecified number of extra days sitting on the committee, which will meet at least eight times a year.

The committee was set to help the bank identify areas where it could be exposed to financial crime, as HSBC battles to restore a reputation that was badly tarnished by the Americans’ findings.

Banks are increasingly being asked to take a leading role in the battle against financial crime, by spotting suspicious activity and alerting the authorities when they see it. Those that fail to take that role seriously can expect to be heavily penalised.

HSBC avoided criminal charges from the US Department of Justice only by signing a deferred prosecution agreement but was placed on probation for five years, and it is now operating on a very short lead with US authorities.

In response, it has increased the control the centre of the organisation has over its far-flung businesses, and sold subsidiaries in numerous “peripheral” territories.

Announcing the appointment yesterday, HSBC chairman Douglas Flint said that Sir Jonathan’s expertise would “be of considerable value to the board as it addresses its governance of systemic threats”.

The bank’s critics put a less flattering spin on the hire. David Hillman, spokesman for the Robin Hood Tax Campaign, which wants banks to be charged a financial transactions tax, said: “It shouldn’t be a surprise that someone who used to work in the shadows has been recruited by a sector that often operates in them. If a bank looking to clean up its act expects the appointment of a spy to do the trick, then they have another thing coming.”

Colleagues of Sir Jonathan on the committee include former deputy US attorney general Jim Comey, Bill Hughes, a former head of Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency, and Dave Hartnett, the controversial former head of HM Revenue & Customs.

Other banks have made similarly high-profile hires as they seek to clean up their acts in the wake of the a string of scandals. Barclays appointed Hector Sants, the former chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, as its head of compliance and government relations, while Royal Bank of Scotland made Jon Pain, another former senior watchdog, its compliance chief.

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Last edited by TonyGosling on Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HSBC’s drugs money laundering settlement a mockery of justice, says Warren

March 7th, 2013
http://www.ianfraser.org/hsbcs-drugs-money-laundering-settlement-a-moc kery-of-justice-says-sen-warren/

Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat-Massachusetts), has once again revealed the dangerous double standards at the heart of the US justice system. Appearing at the Senate Banking Committee, the former Harvard law professor questioned officials from the US Treasury Department and US Federal Reserve over why criminal charges were not pressed on HSBC or any HSBC official who helped to launder hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels. But just like the last time, she was met with wholly inadequate responses. The impression one got from the Treasury and Fed officials was that some banks are not just ‘too big to fail’, they are also ‘too big to prosecute’, and ‘too big to jail’.

The HSBC scandal prompted the United States Treasury and Justice departments to fine HSBC a record $1.92 billion after finding that the London headquartered bank repeatedly helped the world’s most violent drug gangs to launder at least $881 million in ill-gotten gains and to channel money from numerous countries against which the the U.S. has economic sanctions. Warren said:-

“HSBC paid a fine, but no one individual went to trial, no individual was banned from banking, and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s activities here in the United States. So, what I’d like is, you’re the experts on money laundering. I’d like an opinion: What does it take — how many billions do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate — before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”

Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen admitted that HSBC’s actions were “egregious” but failed to answer Warren’s question.

“For our part, we imposed on HSBC the largest penalties that we’ve ever imposed on any financial institution ever. We looked at the facts and determined that the most appropriate response there was a very, very significant penalty against the institution.”

When Warren repeatedly asked whether regulators could identify a line beyond which a bank should face losing a license, Cohen struggled to respond before saying: “The actions that we took in the HSBC case we thought were appropriate in that instance” and “We at the Treasury Department… don’t have the authority to shut down a financial institution.”

“I understand that,” Warren said, visibly annoyed. “I’m asking, in your opinion — you’re the ones who are supposed to be the experts on money laundering, you work with everyone else including the Department of Justice — in your opinion, how many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords before somebody says, ‘We’re shutting you down’?”

Cohen continued to stonewall, merely saying that the Treasury vigorously prosecutes and fines offending banks while insisting: “I’m not going to get into some hypothetical line-drawing exercise.”

Frustrated, Warren turned to Federal Reserve board member Jerome H. Powell, who told her that the US authorities, including the Fed, could only shut down a bank following a criminal conviction. Powell said:-

“That’s not something — we don’t do criminal investigation. We don’t do trials or anything like that. We do civil enforcement, and in the case of HSBC we gave essentially the statutory maximum.”

Warren seemed genuinely stunned, saying: “You have no advice to the Justice Department on whether or not this was an appropriate case for a criminal action?” But Powell deflected, saying that’s the Department of Justice’s domain and that the Fed will “collaborate with them” mainly by answering questions, not by recommending prosecutions. Warren ended the session by saying:-

“You know, if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly, you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night, every single individual associated with this. I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”

It seems that, in Washington D.C. at least, the mood is turning against the notion that banks and bankers who commit crimes should be immune from prosecution. New rules are being weighed up that will hold individuals specifically liable, and older rules — rarely used to take action against executives — will also be explored, officials from the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and the Treasury Department’s illicit finance unit told lawmakers on Thursday. See Reuters – ‘Regulators look to punish bankers for money laundering‘

Elizabeth Warren and other quotes via Raw Story.

And here are Warren’s earlier questions to US regulators, on February 14th, 2013, at which she asked them when was the last time they took the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to a trial. This one sets the context for the above.



Here is the transcript of the February 14th, 2013 session via Switch Your Bank

Elizabeth Warren: I want to ask a question about supervising big banks when they break the law, including the mortgage foreclosures, but others as well. You know, we all understand why settlements are important, that trials are expensive and we can’t dedicate huge resources to them. But we also understand that if a party is unwilling to go to trial, either because they’re too timid, or because they lack resources, that the consequence is they have a lot less leverage in all of the settlements that occur.

Now, I know there have been some landmark settlements, but we face some very special issues with big financial institutions. If they can break the law and drag in billions in profits, and then turn around and settle, paying out of those profits, they don’t have much incentive to follow the law.

It’s also the case that every time there is a settlement and not a trial, it means that we didn’t have those days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions had been up to.

So the question I really want to ask is about how tough you are about how much leverage you really have in these settlements? And what I’d like to know is, tell me a little bit about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to a trial?

(Applause)

Anybody?

Chairman Curry?

Thomas Curry, US Comptroller of Currency: To offer my perspective…

Warren: Sure.

Curry: … of a bank supervisor? We primarily view the tools that we have as mechanisms for correcting deficiencies. So the primary motive for our enforcement actions is really to identify the problem, and then demand a solution to it on an ongoing basis.

Warren: That’s right. And then you set a price for that. I’m sorry to interrupt, but I just want to move this along. It’s effectively a settlement. And what I’m asking is, when did you last take — and I know you haven’t been there forever, so I’m really asking about the OCC — a large financial institution, a Wall Street bank, to trial?

Curry: Well, the institutions I supervise, national banks and federal thrifts, we’ve actually had a fairly fair number of consent orders. We do not have to bring people to trial or …

Warren: Well, I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?

Curry: We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals.

Warren: Ms. Walter?

Elisse Walter, chairman of the SEC: Thank you, Senator. As you know, among our remedies are penalties, but the penalties we can get are limited. And we actually have asked for additional authority — my predecessor did — to raise penalties. But when we look at these issues — and we truly believe that we have a very vigorous enforcement program — we look at the distinction between what we could get if we go to trial, and what we could get if we don’t.

Warren: I appreciate that. That’s what everybody does. And so, the really asking is, can you identify when you last took the Wall Street banks to trial?

Walter: I will have to get back to you with the specific information, but we do litigate and we do have settlements that are either rejected by the commission, or not put forward for approval.

Warren: Okay. We’ve got multiple people here. Anyone else want to tell me about the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial? You know, I just want to note on this, there are district attorneys and U.S. attorneys who are out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds, and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I’m really concerned that Too Big Too Fail has become Too Big For Trial. That just seems wrong to me.


Short URL: http://www.ianfraser.org/?p=9307

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HSBC cuts Mediterranean private bank team after drug-ring investigation
By Martin de Sa'Pinto

ZURICH | Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:56pm BST
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/27/uk-hsbc-investigation-idUKBRE 95Q10O20130627

(Reuters) - HSBC's (HSBA.L) private bank in Switzerland is "dramatically" cutting its north Africa and Israel teams after a former employee was convicted of laundering money for Moroccan drug dealers, it said.

Sources close to the bank said the Mediterranean and Israel business, known as Medis, had managed up to $8 billion (5.2 billion pounds) and had between 12 and 15 staff.

"We have restructured the business dramatically. That will see the majority of clients leave," HSBC spokesman Medard Schoenmaeckers said.

He declined to say how many staff would remain.

A former HSBC banker, fired after an internal investigation last year, was convicted in January of laundering money through Swiss bank accounts for Moroccan drug smugglers, along with his brother who worked for a Geneva-based asset manager.

"We conducted a strategic review of the Mediterranean business, partly driven by internal investigations that started last year," Schoenmaeckers said. The investigation was triggered by a criminal case involving one of its bankers, he said.

Schoenmaeckers said the bank was not involved in the drug smuggling investigation and had cooperated fully with the police. He also said separate Israel teams in Zurich, Tel Aviv and New York that were not part of Medis were unaffected.

HSBC has been embroiled in a string of scandals, including allowing itself to be used to launder Mexican and Columbian drug money, manipulation of benchmark interest rates such as Libor and the mis-selling of financial products.

In January it said it would hire former U.S. deputy attorney general Jim Comey to help avoid a repeat of lapses in its anti-money-laundering controls.

HSBC's Swiss private bank manages a total 171 billion francs (120 billion pounds) at the end of 2012 had 2,600 staff.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New BBC chief being sued over allegations HSBC laundered terrorists and drug cartels' money during her time as chairman of bank's 'risk committee'
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2750024/New-BBC-chief-sued-all egations-HSBC-laundered-terrorists-drug-cartels-money-time-chairman-ba nk-s-risk-committee.html
By Alasdair Glennie for the Daily Mail
00:30 10 Sep 2014, updated 08:36 10 Sep 201
Rona Fairhead is set to become the first woman to lead the corporation
Hours after MPs approved her appointment, details of the lawsuit emerged
The 53-year-old chaired 'risk committee' when bank was fined £1.2billion
It was a settlement over allegations they breached international sanctions
Rona Fairhead, who had her appointment as BBC chairman approved yesterday, is being sued over her involvement in the HSBC money-laundering scandal +4
Rona Fairhead, who had her appointment as BBC chairman approved yesterday, is being sued over her involvement in the HSBC money-laundering scandal
The BBC’s chairman-elect is being sued over her involvement in the HSBC money-laundering scandal, it was revealed yesterday.
Rona Fairhead, who is set to become the first woman to lead the corporation, had her appointment approved by MPs yesterday.
But hours after the Commons hearing it emerged the 53-year-old is facing a class action lawsuit by HSBC shareholders over allegations the bank allowed terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to launder money.
Mrs Fairhead chaired the bank’s ‘risk committee’ in 2012, when it was fined £1.2billion by US authorities to settle allegations that it allowed drug traffickers to launder millions of pounds.
Michael Mason-Mahon, an HSBC shareholder who filed the case in a New York court on May 7, said it would be an ‘obscene joke’ to appoint Mrs Fairhead to head the BBC given her senior role at the bank.
He wants the US courts to force her and 88 other directors to repay the fines the bank incurred over the scandal.
He said: ‘Mrs Fairhead’s credentials are great, as long as you ignore what she’s done at HSBC for the past ten years.




Mr Ethical
Whistleblower, activist & consultant fighting fraud

http://nicholaswilson.com/

Exposing £1bn fraud by HSBC (HFC Bank) that has been covered up or whitewashed by all the regulators and police involved. I am now preparing for a private prosecution of the bank and solicitors. Please help by donating if you can.

I used to be head of debt recovery at Weightmans solicitors and acted for the John Lewis Partnership for 25 years. I now reveal that hundreds of thousands of people have paid, or are still paying “collection charges”, unlawful contingency fees which were added to balances if they defaulted on the following accounts that the bank handled: John Lewis, Dixons, Currys, B&Q, PC World, Furniture Village; Marbles and GM Card credit cards and loans from HFC Bank and Beneficial Finance.

There is no provision for these charges in the consumer credit agreements – it is basically fraud. Here is simple definition of fraud:

The charges were added by Restons solicitors, and Weightmans, who kept the money for their fees, so the bank paid nothing. The charges ranged from about £500 to over £5,000. The solicitors make millions.

My boss at Weightmans used to refer to me as Mr Ethical when I constantly reminded him that the charges were illegal. John Lewis had always treated debtors fairly. As soon as the bank took over they started adding illegal charges.

This is Restons’ boss, Christopher Reston’s private jet which he flies to the UK from tax haven Andorra:



The chairman of HSBC at the time, Stephen Green was made a Lord in 2010, one day before the OFT published an order against the bank forbidding them from adding the illegal charges, and is now Trade Minister in David Cameron’s government.



In August 2012 I reported HSBC to the Financial Services Authority, the bank’s solicitor, Duncan Hamilton, and the firm of Restons to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (see blog). Since my report Hamilton has left HSBC and since March 2013 he works with Restons as a consultant. Despite the OFT order, the Financial Conduct Authority (the supposed regulator of banks) have recently told me that they reason they didn’t investigate my report of fraud was because the bank were entitled to add the charges!

I told Duncan Hamilton in 2003 that the charges were unlawful, but the bank and solicitors carried on applying them until ordered to stop by the Office of Fair Trading in 2010. This is from the order of the Office of Fair Trading:



This is the link to their press release.

I want to see people held to account for this fraud and for the bank’s customers (often sub-prime borrowers) to be compensated. HSBC bought HFC bank in 2003, but the unlawful charges had been applied by Restons before then and I estimate in total for at least 15 years. It is even possible that HSBC had not known about this until my exposure.

HSBC are telling the media a litany of lies to try to avoid exposure (see blog pages)

Because Weightmans continued to either ignore my complaints about the charges, or claim they were not illegal, I reported them to the Law Society in 2006 and was immediately sacked. The Law Society confirmed that the practice was unlawful but took no action, there was a cover-up and Weightmans continued to apply the charges – although I don’t know on what basis, it was still in breach of Law Society rules.

The average sum added was £1,500 and in some cases over £5,000. I conservatively estimate about 500,000 people have been affected (16.4% of the debt was added to the total claimed, before the solicitors did any work) amounting to some £750,000,000 in unlawful charges and possibly as much as £1bn. These charges can be reclaimed under the Consumer Credit Act.* I will keep campaigning for justice for consumers, and would hope that the bank would work with me to achieve this.

Most of the evidence is on this site. For more details and copy documents please contact me.

*I have helped some people recover these charges, with interest, and I will continue to do so for no fee.










My mail to the US court responsible for HSBC DPA
My email to Financial Conduct Authority
HSBC’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement
HSBC’s “fake” solicitors
Proof of collusion between HSBC and FCA
Wonga v HSBC (HFC)
Talk at the Ethical Society 8 June 2014
Deep fraud and the ecology of capitalism
Details of charges of fraud against HSBC and solicitors
18 second dismissal by HSBC of my 10 years of work
Three documents which prove HSBC fraud
“We are in dispute with Mr Wilson”
Private prosecution against HSBC launched
Private prosecution of HSBC and solicitors
My MP’s disgrace
Is MI5 protecting HSBC?
FCA cover-up
FCA confirm that they have done nothing
Benefits stopped
Sham “job interview”
Action Fraud have no record of complaint
A warning to HSBC, Restons & Weightmans
The cover-ups
Is knowing what regulators do with fraud reports in the public interest?
This is what could happen if victims knew of illegal charges.
SRA tells me to get stuffed
Height of arrogance?
New complaint to SRA
Restons collude with bank in fraud
Enough evidence of cover-up?
About my fighting fund
FCA have lost my complaint
Regulators in action
More SRA bluster
FoI to FCA
What is the FCA doing?
Semantics – how bankers and lawyers escape the law
Freedom of Information Request to the Legal Services Board
Why did Legal Service Board’s attitude change?
Unbelievable response from Legal Services Board
Nauseating practices by Household in US
Fraud explained with lentils
Max Keiser hears about the HSBC(HFC) fraud
Email to Douglas Flint HSBC
New email to HSBC lawyer
Correspondence with HSBC
HSBC (HFC) lawyers admit fraud
Trying to make banks work for us…
Smartarse lawyer’s response to Private Eye
SRA had a chat with Restons
Intervention at Making Banks Work for Us
email sent to Douglas Flint, Chair HSBC Holdings
Why is it fraud?
email to Solicitors Regulation Authority
Unpublished Private Eye article
HSBC – you have to take it seriously
Email sent to HSBC
£44m in illegal charges in one year.
Even more evidence of HSBC lies
Further lies from HSBC
Evidence of HSBC lies
HFC attitude to PPI
Illegal charges
Further cover-up
Ed Miliband hears about HSBC illegal charges – youtube clip
Revolving doors
Further evidence of SRA cover-up
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards
What happens to the charges?
Why is Stephen Green a baron & trade minister? Diamond resigned.
Any VAT Experts?
Do illegal work for HSBC or be sacked
HSBC confused
Whistleblowers UK
Coincidence ?
Parliamentary cover-up?
Unlawful charges – breach of the Solicitors Act 1974
Illegal HSBC charge of £4,962.06
HSBC regrets buying HFC Bank
“You know what banks are like for that sort of thing” – Judge Robinson
Catch 22
Ministry of Justice refuse access to public domain information
“Mr Ethical”
This is why contingency fees are unlawful
Psychiatric report
False accounting?
Refusal to discuss illegal contract
The crucial email
Lunch
Bullet points
HSBC (HFC) reported to FSA
Whistleblowers UK launch

http://nicholaswilson.com/

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banking giant HSBC sheltered cash linked to dictators and arms dealers
Team of journalists from 45 countries unearths secret bank accounts maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities
http://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/banking-giant-hs bc-sheltered-cash-linked-to-dictators-and-arms-dealers-1.2095966

Tina Turner has lived in Switzerland for nearly two decades and gave up her US citizenship in 2013.
Sun, Feb 8, 2015, 21:00
Tina Turner has lived in Switzerland for nearly two decades and gave up her US citizenship in 2013. Hollywood actor John Malkovich, for instance, said through a representative that he knows nothing about an account listing his name and conjectured that it might have to do with Bernard Madoff, the former stockbroker convicted of fraud who handled some of his finances. Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin and one of the main targets of sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and businesses in response to the annexation of Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The rock star David Bowie responded to ICIJ media partner the Guardian that he has been a legal resident of Switzerland since 1976. The rock star David Bowie responded to ICIJ media partner The Guardian that he has been a legal resident of Switzerland since 1976.

Secret documents reveal that global banking giant HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channeled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws.
The leaked files, based on the inner workings of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm, relate to accounts holding more than $100 billion. They provide a rare glimpse inside the super-secret Swiss banking system — one the public has never seen before.
The documents, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists via the French newspaper Le Monde, show the bank’s dealings with many clients engaged in a spectrum of illegal behavior, especially in hiding hundreds of millions of dollars from tax authorities.
The bank’s management admitted that standards were not as they should have been in HSBC Geneva, but claiming that new management is working to improve the culture in the Swiss bank.Irish names in HSBC bank’s secret files
‘I paid Revenue what was due, and that was it’, says Dr Michael Cuddy
The HSBC logo seen on a branch in Switzerland. Photograph: Gianluca Colla/BloombergSwiss leaks: Donegal jeweller John Crossan held HSBC account
Records
They also show private records of other clients including famed soccer and tennis players, cyclists, rock stars, Hollywood actors, royalty, politicians, corporate executives and old-wealth families.
These disclosures shine a light on the intersection of international crime and legitimate business, and they dramatically expand what’s known about potentially illegal or unethical behavior in recent years at HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks.
The leaked account records show some clients making trips to Geneva to withdraw large wads of cash, sometimes in used notes. The files also document huge sums of money controlled by dealers in diamonds who are known to have operated in war zones and sold gemstones to finance insurgencies that caused untold deaths.
HSBC, which is headquartered in London and has offices in 74 nations and territories on six continents, at first insisted that ICIJ destroy the data.
Late last month, after being informed of the full extent of the reporting team’s findings, HSBC gave a final response that was more conciliatory, telling ICIJ: “We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC’s Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today.”
The written statement said the bank had “taken significant steps over the past several years to implement reforms and exit clients who did not meet strict new HSBC standards, including those where we had concerns in relation to tax compliance.”
The bank added that it had refocused this part of its business. “As a result of this repositioning, HSBC’s Swiss private bank has reduced its client base by almost 70 per cent since 2007.”
How the offshore banking industry shelters money and hides secrets has enormous implications for societies across the globe. Academics conservatively estimate that $7.6 trillion is held in overseas tax havens, costing government treasuries at least $200 billion a year.
“The offshore industry is a major threat for our democratic institutions and our basic social contract,” French economist Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century told ICIJ.
“Financial opacity is one of the key drivers of rising global inequality. It allows a large fraction of top income and top wealth groups to pay negligible tax rates, while the rest of us pay large taxes in order to finance the public goods and services (education, health, infrastructures) that are indispensable for the development process.”
Tax tactics
The secret files obtained by ICIJ – covering accounts up to 2007 associated with more than 100,000 individuals and legal entities from more than 200 nations – are a version of the ones the French government obtained and shared with other governments in 2010, leading to prosecutions or settlements with individuals for tax evasion in several countries. Nations whose tax authorities received the French files include the US, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Britain, Ireland, India, Belgium and Argentina.
It’s not illegal in most countries to maintain offshore bank accounts, and being identified as holding an HSBC Private Bank account is of itself no indication of any wrongdoing.
Some who are named in the files may have had some connection to a Swiss bank account, such as a power of attorney, while not owning the money in the account, or owning only a share of it. Others in the files may not even have had a Swiss bank account.
Hollywood actor John Malkovich, for instance, said through a representative that he knows nothing about an account listing his name and conjectured that it might have to do with Bernard Madoff, the former stockbroker convicted of fraud who handled some of his finances.
A representative for the British actress Joan Collins told ICIJ: “In 1993 my client deposited funds into a bank account in London and subsequently discovered that, without her instructions, the money had been transferred to the Swiss account referred to in your letter.” The representative added that no tax was avoided.
The rock star David Bowie responded to ICIJ media partner The Guardian that he has been a legal resident of Switzerland since 1976. Tina Turner, though seen by many as a quintessentially American singer, has lived in Switzerland for nearly two decades and gave up her US citizenship in 2013.
In many instances though the records do describe questionable behavior, such as bankers advising clients on how to take a range of measures to avoid paying taxes in their home countries – and customers telling bankers that their accounts are not declared to their governments.
Lax controls
The reporting by ICIJ and a team of media organisations from 45 countries go deeper into the dark corners of HSBC than a 2012 US Senate investigation, which found that the bank had lax controls that allowed Latin American drug cartels to launder hundreds of millions of ill-gotten dollars through its US operations, rendering the dirty money usable.
The senate permanent subcommittee on Investigations’ extensive report on HSBC also said some bank affiliates skirted U.S. government bans against financial transactions with Iran and other countries. And HSBC’s US division provided money and banking services to banks in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh believed to have helped fund Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, the report said.
Later in 2012, HSBC agreed to pay more than $1.9 billion to settle US criminal and civil investigations and entered into a five-year deferred-prosecution agreement.
A subcommittee staff source said senate investigators had requested the HSBC Private Bank account records obtained by ICIJ and been refused by the bank’s management. The new documents show the bank’s activity in many other parts of the world and reveal a new range of questionable clients and actions by the bank.
The ICIJ revelations also come after the Wall Street Journal reported in January that a progress report by the independent monitor appointed to the bank, a synopsis of which is expected to be made public in April, will show HSBC is failing in its attempts to reform.
International cast
The documents obtained by ICIJ are based on data originally smuggled away by a former HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower, Hervé Falciani, and handed to French authorities in 2008. Le Monde obtained material from the French tax authority investigation into the files and then shared the French tax authority’s material with ICIJ with the agreement that ICIJ would pull together a team of journalists from multiple countries that could sift through the data from all angles.
ICIJ enlisted more than 140 journalists from 45 countries, including reporters from Le Monde, The Irish Times, the BBC, the Guardian, 60 Minutes, Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 45 other media organisations.
The reporters found the names of current and former politicians from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, Romania, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Paraguay, Djibouti, Senegal, the Philippines and Algeria, among others.
They found several people on the current US sanctions list, such as Selim Alguadis, a Turkish businessman alleged to have supplied sophisticated electrical goods to Libya’s secret nuclear weapons project, and Gennady Timchenko, a billionaire associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin and one of the main targets of sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and businesses in response to the annexation of Crimea and the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
The files do not state either Mr Alguadis’ or Mr Timchenko’s exact roles in relation to the Swiss accounts. A spokesman for Mr Timchenko said the reasons for the sanctions were “far-fetched and deeply flawed” and that his client has “always been fully compliant with all tax related matters”.
Some clients linked to millions and sometimes tens of millions of dollars in their accounts are politically-connected figures such as Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the former Egyptian trade minister who fled Cairo in February 2011 amid the uprising against Hosni Mubarak. Mr Rachid, who is listed as having power of attorney over an account worth $31 million, was convicted in absentia for alleged profiteering and squandering public funds.
Other names in the files include the late Frantz Merceron, the alleged bagman for the late former Haitian president Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who was accused of having looted up to $900 million before fleeing his country, and Rami Makhlouf, whose cousin and close associate, Syrian president Bashar al Assad, over the past three years has helped cause the deaths of tens of thousands of his citizens in the country’s civil war. Mr Merceron is listed as an attorney on a $1.3 million account belonging to his wife. Mr Makhlouf is listed as a beneficial owner on multiple accounts.
Legal procedings
The files feature people who figure in legal proceedings, such as Vladimir Antonov, the former owner of an English soccer club, Portsmouth FC, who faces trial in Lithuania over an alleged €500 million bank fraud; Margulan Seisembayev, a Kazakh banker accused by the Alliance Bank of looting its assets and Tancred Tabone, the former head of the Malta state oil company Enemalta, who is facing prosecution for allegedly demanding bribes.
In a statement, Mr Tabone’s lawyer said his client denies all charges and added that he “has formally authorised the Swiss authorities to provide all that information. … His fiscal affairs in that respect are in order” .
Mr Antonov is listed as a beneficial owner on an account worth $65 million. Seisembayev is listed as beneficial owner of multiple accounts. A representative told ICIJ reporting partner the Guardian, “Mr.Antonov is not and was never a tax resident in the UK. He opened the Swiss accounts you refer to in 2008 for business reasons and because Swiss banks provide a better level of client care and are much more flexible than any UK banks.”
Variety of names
In a reflection of the sheer variety of names in the data, others who appear are Li Xiaolin, the daughter of former Chinese premier Li Peng, famous for his role in the Tiananmen Square massacre; Joseph Fok, a judge on Hong Kong’s highest court, and prince and princess Michael of Kent, the cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of England and his wife.
The account that can be linked to the prince and princess was held in the name of their company, Cantium Services Limited. A representative for the couple said the account “never received nor held any funds” and was closed in 2009. Li Xiaolin is listed, along with her husband, as a beneficial owner of an account that held $2.5 million. Mr Fok is listed as the holder of an account that was closed in 2002. They did not respond to requests for comment.
The files reflect a spectrum of royalty, from King Mohammed VI of Morocco to the Crown prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to dozens of members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family. Many were partial or full beneficial owners of accounts. The role of the King of Morocco was not specified.
Business figures and political donors from the US. include the financier and philanthropist S. Donald Sussman, whose account predated his marriage to Democratic congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine; the billionaire owner of the Victoria’s Secret lingerie chain, Les Wexner, who in 2012 donated $250,000 to a super PAC supporting former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney; and the Israeli diamond-dealing Steinmetz family.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that the Steinmetz family’s venture capital firm Sage Capital Growth paid generous allowances for speeches and other services to Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor lauded as an organized crime and corruption fighter who later unsuccessfully pursued the Republican presidential nomination.
A representative of Mr Sussman said the account was not his, adding that he had made a passive investment in a technology venture fund. The representative said it was this fund that had the account, the existence of which he learned for the first time when questioned by ICIJ. “Mr Sussman’s investments were minority interests,” the spokesman said, “and he had no involvement in the funds’ management, investment decisions, or other activities.”
Neither Mr Wexner nor the Steinmetz family responded to requests for comment.
An analysis of the files by ICIJ shows that many individuals linked to accounts took extra precautions to protect their identities, even though HSBC staff repeatedly assured customers they were already bound by tight Swiss banking secrecy.
Tax havens
Many of the accounts were held by companies in offshore tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama or in the remote Pacific island of Niue, rather than by the individuals who owned the money. Thousands more used de-identified, numbered accounts.
In the documents an HSBC employee refers to one of Australia’s most prominent corporate figures, Charles Barrington Goode, by his initials.
“Acct holder Mr. Ch.B.G. would like to be called Mr. Shaw (acct heading). So the entire discussion we were speaking about Mr. Shaw,” the staff member wrote in one document. Mr Goode’s account was held under the name “SHAW99.”
At the time of the note, Goode was the chairman of ANZ bank, one of Australia’s biggest. In his other role in politics, Goode was called by a senator during debate in the Australian parliament in 2001 “a man who is the bag carrier, the fundraiser, for the Liberal party,” the current ruling party of the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott.
Two foundations that Goode has been publicly associated with in Australia – The Cormack Foundation and Valpold Pty Ltd – gave more than Aus$30 million to the Victoria branch of the Liberal Party between 1998 and 2013, according to filings with the Australian Electoral Commission.
Goode told ICIJ that he opened his account 30 years ago and the bank insisted he use a pseudonym. “The bank officer told me that, for security purposes, I needed a name, other than my own name, or a number, to identify the account and which I should use in communicating with the bank. I chose the name ‘Shaw.’ ” Mr Goode said “the account was dormant for about 25 years” and that before he closed the account five years ago he had declared it to Australian tax authorities and paid tax on any income he derived.
New questions
The documents raise new questions about past public statements by HSBC that staff did not help customers engage in tax evasion. In July 2008, for example, Chris Meares, the then head of private banking for HSBC, told a British parliamentary hearing: “We prohibit our bankers from encouraging or being involved in tax evasion.”
Three years earlier one wealthy British client, Keith Humphreys, a director of the English Premier League soccer club Stoke City FC, is described telling his HSBC manager that one of his family’s Swiss accounts was “not declared” to the UK tax authorities. The files state it held more than $450,000 at the time.
Mr Humphreys told ICIJ media partner, the Guardian, that the Swiss account was held not by him but by his father and that it was later voluntarily disclosed to authorities. The account, he said, “was established in line with financial advice that he was given at the time” and disclosed to British tax authorities in 2011, with a settlement of £147,165.
In another instance, an HSBC employee wrote this note in the file of Irish businessman John Cashell, who would later plead guilty to three counts of filing incorrect income tax returns – in 2001, 2002, and 2003 – with regard to undeclared interest on offshore accounts containing almost €800,000.
“His pre-occupation is with the risk of disclosure to the Irish authorities. Once again I endeavoured to reassure him that there is no risk of that happening.” Mr Cashell did not respond to requests for comment.
Uneasy
The bank itself became uneasy over a €20 million transaction by a Serbian businessman. But the bank employees merely asked him to act less conspicuously: “Explained that as per today the bank did not interfered [SIC]in his money transfer transactions,” the relevant document says, “but would have preferred to reduce those activities on a lower scale. [HE]understands our concerns and will use smaller amounts.”
HSBC staff also appeared to show little concern at the description they received of a Canadian doctor, Irwin Rodier. “This client is somwhat [SIC]paranoid, e.g. whenever he was coming to ZH [ZURICH], he flew to Paris and hired a car to drive to ZH, in order not to re-enact his final destination etc.”
Rodier told ICIJ media partner CBC/Radio-Canada that he had since settled his taxes with Canadian authorities.
In its statement to ICIJ, HSBC said: “In the past, the Swiss private banking industry operated very differently to the way it does today. Private banks, including HSBC’s Swiss private bank, assumed that responsibility for payment of taxes rested with individual clients, rather than the institutions that banked them.”
Tax on savings
The files show that some European customers were given advice on how to avoid a withholding tax on bank savings that came into effect in European Union countries in 2005. Switzerland had agreed to implement the tax – called the European Savings Directive, or ESD.
But the ESD pertained only to individuals, not to corporations. The files show HSBC Private Bank seized on this loophole to market products that transformed individuals into corporations for tax-reporting purposes.
The documents record that day by day throughout 2005, clients arrived in Switzerland to make cash withdrawals in British pounds, Euros, Swiss francs, US dollars, even Danish krone – sometimes asking for small used notes.
One of those being provided with cash supplies of dollars and euros was Arturo del Tiempo Marques, a property developer sentenced in 2013 to a seven-year jail sentence in Spain for smuggling cocaine. He controlled up to 19 HSBC accounts containing more than $3 million. He did not respond to requests for comment.
In one transaction, the British business tycoon Richard Caring, accompanied by security, was depicted in September 2005 collecting more than five million Swiss francs in cash.
HSBC staff explained handing Caring the huge sum of cash by quoting a statement by him that he planned to deposit the cash with another Swiss bank, and did not want either bank to be aware of the other. They wrote: “RC goes to great lengths to maintain discretion.”
A representative of Caring told the Guardian that he did not avoid taxes and that his “use of offshore funds was conducted under widely used and accepted tax principles.”
The files show Caring, a major donor to British politics, transferring $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit set up by the former US president Bill Clinton with the stated mission to “strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence” .
The donation to the Clinton Foundation was requested in December 2005. The previous month, Mr Caring funded a champagne and caviar extravaganza at Catherine the Great’s Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia, flying in 450 guests to be entertained by Sir Elton John and Tina Turner and addressed by Bill Clinton. The event raised more than £11 million for a children’s charity.
Donors
A number of other prominent donors to the Clinton Foundation appear in the files, including the Canadian businessman Frank Giustra and German motor racing superstar Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One champion. A representative of Schumacher, who is listed as a beneficial owner of an account closed in 2002, told ICIJ that he is a long-term resident of Switzerland.
The records show Giustra is the only person listed in an HSBC account holding more than $10 million in 2006/2007, although his role in the account is not specified
The New York Times reported in 2008 that Giustra donated to the Clinton Foundation shortly after Bill Clinton accompanied Giustra on a trip to Kazakhstan in 2005. When they landed, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who has served for decades as Kazakhstan’s president, met his two visitors over a sumptuous midnight banquet.
The Times reported that Mr Clinton made a public declaration of support for Nazarbayev that was at odds with the stance of the US government and of Clinton’s wife, then-senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had criticized Kazakhstan’s record on human rights. Two days later, corporate records showed, Mr Giustra’s company won the right to buy into three state-owned uranium projects in Kazakhstan.
Both Clinton and Mr Giustra told the New York Times that Mr Giustra traveled with Mr Clinton to Kazakhstan to see first-hand the foundation’s philanthropic work. A spokesman for Mr Clinton told the newspaper that the former president was generally aware of Mr Giustra’s mining interests in Kazakhstan but did nothing to help those interests.
A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation told the Guardian it “has strong donor integrity and transparency practices that go well beyond what is required of US charities, including the full disclosure of all of our donors.”
Investigations
The data shared by French authorities with other governments is now the basis of formal investigations in several countries. French magistrates are examining whether the bank helped some clients avoid paying 2006 and 2007 taxes. French authorities have required HSBC to deposit a bail bond of €50 million. Belgian prosecutors late last year also accused the bank of tax fraud.
In August 2014, Argentine tax agents raided HSBC’s offices in Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires Herald has reported that Argentine tax chief Ricardo Echegaray has accused HSBC of “rolling out a fraud-enabling platform” as “a maneuver to hide bank account information from tax collectors”.
HSBC said in its statement to ICIJ that it was “fully committed to the exchange of information with relevant authorities” and was “actively pursuing measures that ensure clients are tax transparent, even in advance of a regulatory or legal requirement to do so. We are also cooperating with relevant authorities investigating these matters.”
The documents raise questions about why there were investigations in some countries and not in others – and whether some investigations were less than painstaking.
For instance, some of the most extensive material relates to the bank’s UK clients. Initial investigations by French tax authorities identified more than 5,000 British clients linked to $61 billion in HSBC deposits – more clients and more money than from any other country.
Though the French investigators likely initially over-estimated the true amounts held by clients, the British tax office concluded that 3,600 of the 5,000 names it received from the French in 2010 were “potentially non-compliant.” A report to a House of Commons committee in September 2014 said the tax office had recovered just £135 million in back taxes from individuals on the list, compared to £220 million collected by Spain and £188 million collected by France.
Lord Stephen Green, the head of HSBC during the period the records cover, later became trade minister in the Cameron government in Britain, a position he held until 2013.
Apart from isolated court cases in US federal courts, it appears that the US Internal Revenue Service has also gone about its work quietly despite French tax investigators having identified 1,400 people with US connections, holding some $16 billion. Again, that figure was higher than the amounts identified by ICIJ.
The IRS
In a statement to ICIJ media partner 60 Minutes, the IRS said that since US taxpayers were first encouraged to voluntarily come forward with details of their offshore holdings in 2009, “there have been more than 50,000 disclosures and we have collected more than $7 billion from this initiative alone” .
The agency declined to disclose how many, if any, of those who came forward had accounts with HSBC.
What happened after France sent Greece the names of more than 2,000 Greek HSBC clients touched off a furore that now has Greece’s former finance minister facing trial.
Greece received the names in 2010, but nothing happened until October 2012, when a Greek magazine, Hot Doc, published the names and noted the lack of an investigation into whether rich Greeks were evading taxes while the country was undergoing austerity measures, including pay cuts and tax increases for those who paid.
In contrast to the reluctance with which they had gone after possible tax evasion, Greek authorities were quick to arrest Hot Doc editor Kostas Vaxevanis and charge him with violating privacy laws.
He was quickly acquitted, and his trial provoked anger when two former heads of the financial police testified that neither the former finance minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou nor his successor had ordered an investigation into the list. Mr Papakonstantinou said it had been lost.
When the list finally surfaced, it was missing the names of three relatives of Mr Papakonstantinou. He now faces criminal charges alleging breach of trust, doctoring an official document and dereliction of duty growing out of the removal of his relatives’ names and out of his failure to act on the list when he received it.
Arms dealers
HSBC kept Aziza Kulsum and her family as clients even after Kulsum was named by the United Nations as financing the bloody Burundian civil war in the1990s.
The 2001 United Nations report also said that Ms Kulsum was a key player in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the illicit trade in coltan, a strategically important mineral used in electronic devices. A big part of the world’s supply of coltan comes from conflict zones in Central Africa, where armed factions control many mines, extort miners and profit from the sale of illegal ore.
While two of Kulsum’s accounts were closed before 2001, a third account worth $3.2 million was frozen (though not closed) for unspecified “compliance reasons” at an unknown date. Ms Kulsum’s husband had an unspecified connection to a further account that was not closed and held an additional $1.6 million at one point in 2006/2007. HSBC referred to Kulsum as a “businesswoman (stone and noble metals)” and the owner of a cigarette factory.
Another questionable account appears under the name of Katex Mines Guinee. According to a 2003 report by the United Nations, Katex Mines was a front company used by Guinea’s ministry of defense to traffic arms to rebel soldiers in Liberia during fighting in 2003.
Inexperienced child soldiers were fighting on both sides; hundreds of people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. The account is shown with $7.14 million in it three years after UN reports about Katex Mines were made public.
Other notes show HSBC staff meeting a customer, Shailesh Vithlani, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2005, to advise him how best to invest his money. The Guardian reported in 2007 that Vithlani, who is listed as a beneficial owner of one account, was an alleged middleman who arranged for the British arms company BAE to secretly pay $12 million into an unspecified Swiss bank account in return for the Tanzanian government buying an overpriced military radar system. Mr Vithlani, who could not be reached for comment, told the Guardian in 2007 that he did not pay money from Switzerland to officials in Tanzania.
Fraud office
Another HSBC customer linked to BAE was Fana Hlongwane, a South African political adviser and businessman. The UK Serious Fraud Office said in statements submitted to South African prosecutors in 2008 that Mr Hlongwane received money from BAE through a disguised chain of offshore intermediaries in order to promote arms deals.
Mr Hlongwane’s lawyers did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
In a 2014 affidavit made to an ongoing inquiry into the arms contracts, Mr Hlongwane denied “any evidence implicating myself and/or my Companies in any corruption or wrongdoing.”
Mr Hlongwane is listed as the beneficial owner of an account, Leynier Finance SA, that contained $888,000. Two other accounts that held $12 million at one point in 2006/2007 do not specify his exact role.
Another account holder appears to be linked to the so-called Angolagate scandal.
In 2008, French prosecutors began proceedings against more than 40 people implicated in corrupted arms sales to Angola in the 1990s. The scandal, which was alleged to have involved more than $50 million in bribes exchanged for contracts worth nearly $800 million, named high-profile French figures, including the son of former French President Francois Mitterrand.
The account likely linked to Angolagate was dubbed Corday and was open from 1994 to 1999. Manuel’s exact role with the account was not specified.
Corday is the name on a series of accounts at HSBC and other banks that have been publicly linked to Yves Manuel who also held an account with HSBC and who died following a conviction for his role in the scandal.
A French court ruling in October 2011 said Yves Manuel received and concealed $2.59 million that he knew had come from the company that disbursed bribes to French and Angolan officials. She did not respond to requests for comment.
Yet another account can be found under the name Wang Chia-Hsing, the son of the alleged middleman in an infamous Taiwan arms deal, Andrew Wang Chuan-pu.
Wang Chuan-pu is a fugitive wanted in Taiwan over his alleged role in the murder of Taiwanese Navy Capt. Yin Ching-feng and a series of kickback and corruption scandals implicating Taiwan, France and China.
The South China Morning Post reported that Wang Chuan-pu left Taiwan shortly after the body of Yin – who was about to blow the whistle on alleged kickbacks and corruption in the navy’s purchase of six French frigates – was found floating off the island’s north coast in December 1993.
The HSBC documents show conversations between Wang Chia-Hsing, who is described as an interior decorator and shown with an upmarket London address, and HSBC staff even during a period when the account with more than $38 million was under a court blocking order.
The files do not make clear what Wang Chia-Hsing’s exact role in the account was. However, the files record that he asked the bank to recognize his non-domicile residency status in the UK, a reference to a foreign national living in the UK who doesn’t pay income tax or capital gains tax on earnings abroad. It is generally regarded as a form of legal tax avoidance. The bank’s notes further indicate that a HSBC staff member was willing to backdate a form.
A representative for Wang Chia-Hsing said he has “paid all proper taxes due and has not acted in any way improperly or unlawfully.”
Blood Diamonds
An analysis by ICIJ shows that almost 2,000 of HSBC clients who appear in the files are associated with the diamond industry. Among them is Emmanuel Shallop, who was subsequently convicted of dealing in blood diamonds.
Blood diamonds, or conflict diamonds, are terms used for gems mined in war zones that are later sold to finance further war. Diamonds mined during the recent civil wars in Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and other nations have been given the label.
“Diamonds have a long history of being linked to conflict and violence,” said Michael Gibb of the international human rights group Global Witness. “The ease with which diamonds can be converted into tools of war, when not sourced responsibly, is astonishing.”
The documents show that HSBC was aware that Mr Shallop was under investigation by Belgian authorities at the time it was helping him. “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai. … The client is very cautious currently because he is under pressure from the Belgian tax authorities, who are investigating his activities in the area of diamond fiscal fraud.”
Mr Shallop’s lawyer told ICIJ, “We dot [SIC]not want to give any comment on this issue. My client does not want his name to be mentioned in any article because of reasons of privacy.”
Other HSBC account holders can be linked to Omega Diamonds, which in 2013 was fined $195 million for tax evasion in Belgium. The company agreed to pay the fine but did not admit liability. Belgian authorities alleged that Omega shifted profits into Dubai by trading falsely valued diamonds from mines in Congo and Angola.
During the period of these alleged transactions, the firm’s two principals, Ehud Arye Laniado and Sylvain Goldberg, each had HSBC accounts. A third Omega director, Robert Liling, appears in the files as the owner of several accounts.
Mr Liling could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for MrLaniado and Mr Goldberg said neither was prosecuted for tax offences. “The tax dispute between Omega Diamonds and the Belgian tax authorities was settled in an amicable civil settlement.”

Links to Al Qaeda?
HSBC’s clients’ links to Al Qaeda were first publicly raised in the July 2012 US Senate report, which cited an alleged internal Al Qaeda list of financial benefactors.
The senate report said the list came to light after a search of the Bosnian offices of the Benevolence International Foundation, a Saudi-based nonprofit organization that the US Treasury Department has designated as a terrorist organization.
Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, referred to the handwritten list of the 20 names as the “Golden Chain.”
From the moment the names on the Golden Chain list were made public in news reports in the spring of 2003, the Senate subcommittee stated that HSBC should have been “on notice” and aware these powerful business figures were high risk clients.
Though the significance of the Golden Chain list has since been questioned, the ICIJ found what appear to be three Golden Chain names with HSBC Swiss accounts that existed after that date.
Interpol list
People on the Most Wanted list of Interpol, the international police agency, such as the diamond dealers Mozes Victor Konig and Kenneth Lee Akselrod, are among the HSBC account holders – and so is Elias Murr, who is president of the board of Interpol’s Foundation for a Safer World, an organisation aimed at fighting terrorism and organised crime. Murr, who was a prominent businessman before entering politics, was interior minister of Lebanon in 2004 when an HSBC account owned by him was held through a company called Callorford Investments Limited. By 2006-2007, the account would contain $42 million.
A spokesman for Murr said his client’s wealth and that of his family is public knowledge, and his family has held accounts in Switzerland since before he was born. The account was not connected to his political role. “It is not illegal and it is not suspicious that a Lebanese national opens and holds accounts anywhere.”

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"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter Oborne: why I resigned from the Telegraph
http://www.channel4.com/news/peter-oborne-telegraph-resignation-barcla y-brothers

Former Telegraph chief political commentator Peter Oborne explains to Jon Snow why he took the decision to step down from the leading broadsheet newspaper.
http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/display/playlistref/170215/clipi d/170215_4on_oborn_17

Mr Oborne told Channel 4 News that the newspaper "needs to explain to us why its coverage of HSBC has been skewed".

In an exclusive interview with Jon Snow, he alleged that there was a "pattern... It's been going on for more than two years, where nothing unfavourable of any substance has been written about HSBC."

In his resignation letter, Mr Oborne had claimed that the Telegraph's coverage of the bank was "influenced by advertising."

'Advertising solutions'
In a statement, the Telegraph denied that its coverage of HSBC was influenced by commercial relationships.

A Telegraph spokesperson said: ""Like any other business, we never comment on individual commercial relationships, but our policy is absolutely clear.

"We aim to provide all our commercial partners with a range of advertising solutions, but the distinction between advertising and our award-winning editorial operation has always been fundamental to our business.

"We utterly refute any allegation to the contrary."

'Great privilege'
Mr Oborne joined the newspaper in May 2010, a year after the Telegraph released its award-winning coverage of the MPs' expenses scandal.

He told Channel 4 News: "I felt so proud to write for the Daily Telegraph."

The Telegraph said: "It is a matter of huge regret that Peter Oborne, for nearly five years a contributor to the Telegraph, should have launched such an astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo, on his own paper."

_________________
www.rethink911.org
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.l911t.com
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Article Telegraph removed & Peter Oborne complained about is here

HSBC faces £70bn capital hole, warn Hong Kong analysts
http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/196069-hsbc-fa ces-l70bn-capital-hole-warn-hong-kong-analysts/

Research firm Forensic Asia calculates that HSBC has overstated the value of the assets on its balance sheet by more than £50bn

HSBC could have overstated its assets by more than £50bn and ultimately need a capital injection of close to £70bn before the end of this decade, according to an incendiaryreport published by a Hong Kong-based research firm.Forensic Asia on Tuesday began its coverage of Britain’s largest banking group with a ‘sell’ recommendation, warning the lender had between $63.6bn (£38.7bn) and $92.3bn of “questionable assets” on its balance sheet, ranging from loan loss reserves and accrued interest to deferred tax assets, defined benefit pension schemes and opaque Level 3 assets.

The broker’s note is written by two of its senior analysts, Thomas Monaco and Andrew Haskins.

Mr Monaco is a former senior bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and previously worked as a fund manager at FrontPoint Partners, the hedge fund that spotted the US subprime bubble. As well as this, he has also spent a decade as a banks analyst at various leading investment banks.

Mr Haskins previously worked at HSBC for 15 years, mainly as a telecoms analyst, and also co-ran Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ’s Hong Kong-based research team.

In the report, the analysts apply what they describe as a “moderate stress test” to the balance sheets of HSBC’s major subsidiaries. From this analysis they conclude that even using a low-end estimate, the assets of the bank’s Hong Kong division, for instance, are overstated by about $15bn, while those of its UK subsidiary could be overvalued by $17bn.

Taking the analysis further, the report sets out the impact of incoming Basel III capital rules and says HSBC could be required at a minimum to raise close to $60bn in new capital by 2019 and potentially as much as $111bn.

“In our view, HSBC has not made the necessary adjustments, during the quantitative easing reprieve. Rather, it has allowed legacy problems to linger as new ones in emerging markets gather pace. The result has been extreme earnings overstatement, causing HSBC to become one of the largest practitioners of capital forebearance globally. This charade appears to be ending, given how few earnings levers remain besides selling off core elements of the franchise and the stringencies of Basel III compliance,” wrote Forensic Asia.

The broker adds: “While having stated capital ratios well above peer averages is all well and good, HSBC’s stated capital ratios would appear to be nothing more than a mirage if our analysis is correct.”

Even under current capital rules, Forensic Asia estimates that its valuations of HSBC’s group and subsidiary balance sheets suggests the bank has a current capital shortfall of $45.1bn.

The report adds the workings do not include probable litigation costs linked to various claims on the bank, which they see coming in at no less than $10bn.

HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank by market capitalisation and total assets, is also reckoned to be the UK’s best capitalised major lender, with a tier 1 ratio of 12.8pc, well above the minimum required by the Prudential Regulation Authority.


HSBC declined to comment.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here;s the article the telegraph pulled
£70bn fraud - oh queen elizabeth - what a bloody mess you've made


HSBC faces £70bn capital hole, warn Hong Kong analysts
http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/196069-hsbc-fa ces-l70bn-capital-hole-warn-hong-kong-analysts/

Research firm Forensic Asia calculates that HSBC has overstated the value of the assets on its balance sheet by more than £50bn

HSBC could have overstated its assets by more than £50bn and ultimately need a capital injection of close to £70bn before the end of this decade, according to an incendiaryreport published by a Hong Kong-based research firm.Forensic Asia on Tuesday began its coverage of Britain’s largest banking group with a ‘sell’ recommendation, warning the lender had between $63.6bn (£38.7bn) and $92.3bn of “questionable assets” on its balance sheet, ranging from loan loss reserves and accrued interest to deferred tax assets, defined benefit pension schemes and opaque Level 3 assets.

The broker’s note is written by two of its senior analysts, Thomas Monaco and Andrew Haskins.

Mr Monaco is a former senior bank examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and previously worked as a fund manager at FrontPoint Partners, the hedge fund that spotted the US subprime bubble. As well as this, he has also spent a decade as a banks analyst at various leading investment banks.

Mr Haskins previously worked at HSBC for 15 years, mainly as a telecoms analyst, and also co-ran Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ’s Hong Kong-based research team.

In the report, the analysts apply what they describe as a “moderate stress test” to the balance sheets of HSBC’s major subsidiaries. From this analysis they conclude that even using a low-end estimate, the assets of the bank’s Hong Kong division, for instance, are overstated by about $15bn, while those of its UK subsidiary could be overvalued by $17bn.

Taking the analysis further, the report sets out the impact of incoming Basel III capital rules and says HSBC could be required at a minimum to raise close to $60bn in new capital by 2019 and potentially as much as $111bn.

“In our view, HSBC has not made the necessary adjustments, during the quantitative easing reprieve. Rather, it has allowed legacy problems to linger as new ones in emerging markets gather pace. The result has been extreme earnings overstatement, causing HSBC to become one of the largest practitioners of capital forebearance globally. This charade appears to be ending, given how few earnings levers remain besides selling off core elements of the franchise and the stringencies of Basel III compliance,” wrote Forensic Asia.

The broker adds: “While having stated capital ratios well above peer averages is all well and good, HSBC’s stated capital ratios would appear to be nothing more than a mirage if our analysis is correct.”

Even under current capital rules, Forensic Asia estimates that its valuations of HSBC’s group and subsidiary balance sheets suggests the bank has a current capital shortfall of $45.1bn.

The report adds the workings do not include probable litigation costs linked to various claims on the bank, which they see coming in at no less than $10bn.

HSBC, Britain’s biggest bank by market capitalisation and total assets, is also reckoned to be the UK’s best capitalised major lender, with a tier 1 ratio of 12.8pc, well above the minimum required by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Telegraph owners' £250m HSBC loan raises fresh questions over coverage
Barclay brothers secured loan for loss-making company shortly before Telegraph reporters were allegedly discouraged from running articles critical of HSBC
Simon Bowers - Thursday 19 February 2015 18.51 GMT
Last modified on Friday 20 February 2015 00.25 GMT
http://www.911forum.org.uk/board/posting.php?mode=reply&t=21960

The owners of the Daily Telegraph secured a £250m loan from HSBC for a struggling corner of their business empire shortly before the newspaper’s reporters were allegedly “discouraged” from running articles critical of the bank, the Guardian has learned.

The timing of the loan deal for Yodel, a loss-making parcel delivery firm owned by the Barclay brothers, raises fresh questions over the influence of commercial considerations on the Telegraph’s editorial coverage of HSBC.

The deal was completed on 14 December 2012, company documents show. The paper’s former chief political commentator Peter Oborne alleged this week that there was a sea change in its editorial treatment of the bank from early 2013.

The documents show that Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay had to formally give a personal financial guarantee as additional security for the loan facility.

The paper’s editorial judgment over HSBC has been called into question this week by Oborne, who accused the paper of a “fraud on its readers” in an excoriating resignation statement.

Specifically, he claims that the Telegraph’s coverage of the bank changed abruptly just over two years ago. “From the start of 2013 onwards stories critical of HSBC were discouraged,” he said.


Peter Oborne: what I have seen is unprecedented in a quality newspaper
Read more
Yodel refinanced in mid-December 2012 with Europe’s biggest bank. As security, the bank took a charge over almost all the Yodel business - meaning the bank could take control of the parcel delivery group should the latter breach its borrowing commitments.

The new HSBC loan was used to repay previous borrowings from Lloyds Banking Group. The Yodel business made a loss of £112m for the year to 30 June 2013. Yodel filings show an outstanding amount of £242m was due on the HSBC loan at the end of June 2013 and there are no filings since then suggesting the debt has been repaid.

Contacted by the Guardian, the Barclay family declined to comment on the loan, but a source close to the family dismissed suggestions that the Telegraph’s coverage could have been influenced by a loan from HSBC. The source also pointed out that the family’s businesses had borrowings with many other banks.

The Barclays camp believe a lot of inaccuracies have been written about them in recent days, though they have not expanded on what these are.

After Oborne: Facts and bad faith in our newspapers
Letters: With a few exceptions our national press operates as a cartel, papers covering up each others’ faults. The result is that uncorrected lies pile up in our public space, polluting debate and warping policymaking
Read more
Oborne parted company with the Telegraph this week, going public, he said, in protest at its coverage of the HSBC scandal. The Telegraph veteran has called for an independent inquiry into the newspaper’s editorial guidelines because of what he sees as a lack of reporting on the HSBC affair. The Guardian, the BBC, Le Monde and 50 other media outlets revealed how the bank’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, while circumventing domestic tax authorities.

Revelations about the controversial banking affairs of some of HSBC’s wealthiest clients have dominated headlines across the British media in recent weeks, but featured only fleetingly in the Telegraph, Oborne argues.

Yodel’s directors, who include Sir David Barclay’s sons Aidan and Howard, admit in the firm’s accounts that the parcel delivery trade is “a rapidly changing marketplace”. While that presented opportunities, there were too many suppliers in the industry, leading to “a high degree of competition”.

The accounts show the struggling business was able to qualify as a “going concern” for accounting purposes thanks to the willingness of its Jersey-based parent, another company in the Barclays’ investment empire called LW Corporation, to provide financial support. Companies in Jersey are not required to file accounts.

Earlier this week Oborne claimed that HSBC had suspended its advertising with the Telegraph after it ran an investigation in November 2012 based on leaked details of personal accounts held with HSBC in Jersey.

He also claims that reporters were ordered to destroy all emails, reports and documents related to the HSBC investigation. “This was the pivotal moment,” Oborne wrote.

He attributed the change to an effort to win back advertising. He said he had been told by an extremely well informed insider that HSBC’s advertising spend was extremely valuable. “Winning back the HSBC advertising account became an urgent priority,” Oborne said.

In a statement responding to Oborne’s allegations, a Telegraph spokesperson said it would not comment on individual commercial relationships, but continued: “We aim to provide all our commercial partners with a range of advertising solutions, but the distinction between advertising and our award-winning editorial operation has always been fundamental to our business. We utterly refute any allegation to the contrary.

“It is a matter of huge regret that Peter Oborne, for nearly five years a contributor to the Telegraph, should have launched such an astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo, on his own paper.”

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To examine the current money laundering and
terrorist financing threats associated with correspondent banking, the
Subcommittee selected HSBC as a case study.

HSBC Case Study. To examine the current money laundering and
terrorist financing threats associated with correspondent banking, the
Subcommittee selected HSBC as a case study. HSBC is one of the largest
financial institutions in the world, with over $2.5 trillion in assets, 89 million
customers, 300,000 employees, and 2011 profits of nearly $22 billion. HSBC,
whose initials originally stood for Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation,
now has operations in over 80 countries, with hundreds of affiliates spanning the
globe. Its parent corporation, HSBC Holdings plc, called “HSBC Group,” is
headquartered in London, and its Chief Executive Officer is located in Hong
Kong.
Its key U.S. affiliate is HSBC Bank USA N.A. (HBUS). HBUS operates
more than 470 bank branches throughout the United States, manages assets
totaling about $200 billion, and serves around 3.8 million customers. It holds a
national bank charter, and its primary regulator is the U.S. Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which is part of the U.S. Treasury
Department. HBUS is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, but has its principal
office in New York City. HSBC acquired its U.S. presence by purchasing
several U.S. financial institutions, including Marine Midland Bank and Republic
National Bank of New York.3
A senior HSBC executive told the Subcommittee that HSBC acquired its U.S.
affiliate, not just to compete with other U.S. banks for U.S. clients, but primarily
to provide a U.S. platform to its non-U.S. clients and to use its U.S. platform as a
selling point to attract still more non-U.S. clients. HSBC operates in many
jurisdictions with weak AML controls, high risk
117-129, 183-187,
http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/documents/BSA_AML_Man_2010.pdf. Prior versions
of this Manual were issued in 2005 and 2007.
6 See “International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism
& Proliferation:
The FATF Recommendations,” issued by the Financial Action Task Force (2/2012), FATF
Recommendation 13.
clients, and high risk financial activities including Asia, Middle East, and Africa.
Over the past ten years, HSBC has also acquired affiliates throughout Latin
America. In many of these countries, the HSBC affiliate provides correspondent
accounts to foreign financial institutions that, among other services, are
interested in acquiring access to U.S. dollar wire transfers, foreign exchange, and
other services. As a consequence, HSBC’s U.S. affiliate, HBUS, is required to
interact with other HSBC affiliates and foreign financial institutions that face
substantial AML challenges, often operate under weaker AML requirements, and
may not be as familiar with, or respectful of, the tighter AML controls in the
United States. HBUS’ correspondent services, thus, provide policymakers with a
window into the vast array of money laundering and terrorist financing risks
confronting the U.S. affiliates of global banks.
The Subcommittee also examined HSBC because of its weak AML program. In
September 2010, the OCC issued a lengthy Supervisory Letter citing HBUS for
violating federal AML laws, including by maintaining an inadequate AML
program. In October 2010, the OCC issued a Cease and Desist Order requiring
HSBC to strengthen multiple aspects of its AML program.
7 The identified
problems included a once massive backlog of over 17,000 alerts identifying
possible suspicious activity that had yet to be reviewed; ineffective methods for
identifying suspicious activity; a failure to file timely Suspicious Activity
Reports with U.S. law enforcement; a failure to conduct any due diligence to
assess the risks of HSBC affiliates before opening correspondent accounts for
them; a 3-year failure by HBUS, from mid-2006 to mid2009, to conduct any
AML monitoring of $15 billion in bulk cash transactions with those same HSBC
affiliates, despite the risks associated with large cash transactions; poor
procedures for assigning country and client risk ratings; a failure to monitor $60
trillion in annual wire transfer activity by customers domiciled in countries rated
7 On the same day, in coordination with the OCC, the Federal Reserve issued a Cease and Desist
order to HBUS’ holding company, HSBC North America Holdings, Inc

http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/reports

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HSBC: Profits from Draining NHS
Posted by kamsandhu
By Ranjan Kumaran @FinancialEyes
http://linkis.com/wordpress.com/UxUtE

HSBC are being grilled by Margaret Hodge today at the Public Accounts Select Committee on tax and tax avoidance.

HSBC offshoot HICL, based “offshore” in Guernsey are significant owners of UK hospitals via PFI, with 43 projects under ownership based on 2013 Treasury data.

Margaret Hodge has stated that PFI has been a rip off for the taxpayer.

HICL are still based in Guernsey. Their business model is based on overcharging hospitals and avoiding tax.

The 2011 Treasury Select Committee found that: “Treasury could not tell us if PFI companies had paid tax in the UK on profits and on equity gains, or whether corporation taxes had been collected from PFI” [Richard Brooks – The Great Tax Robbery pg 222].

Two Hospitals, Central Middlesex and Chase Farm have since closed their A&E wards (end of 2013) as a result of unsustainable PFI debts.

In 2011 HICL was sold to its directors in a Management Buy Out.

Ex-HSBC directors continue to profit tax-free from UK Hospitals which have closed their A&E wards due to overcharging and lack of funding resulting from rip off HSBC PFI deals.

Click on the image below to see a list of HICL Hospitals.



Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 13.05.09

See attached 2010 HSBC – HICL prospectus by clicking here and offshore corporate structure diagram

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 12.50.38

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