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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    US to Probe How HSBC Bank Helped Clients Avoid Millions in Taxes

    WASHINGTON—
    U.S. banking officials plan to appear on Capitol Hill this week to address allegations that Britain's largest financial institution helped global clients avoid taxes and hide hundreds of millions of dollars in assets.

    U.S. Federal Reserve Governor Maryann Hunter is expected before the Senate Banking Committee to discuss the revelation of 106,000 hidden accounts at the Swiss subsidiary of the British-based HSBC Holding Plc and what the U.S. is doing regarding Americans involved.

    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and several news organizations obtained bank documents dating back to 2007 that reveal the scope of the tax dodging.

    The leaked documents contain details about more than 100,000 clients from around the world - both individuals and legal entities.

    According to the ICIJ report, academic studies estimate that $7.6 trillion is held in overseas tax heavens, preventing governments from collecting about $200 billion a year in tax revenues.

    Later this week, U.S. Deputy Associate Attorney General Geoffrey Graber is expected to testify about the leak and U.S. tax recovery efforts at a House of Representatives judiciary subcommittee. Tough questions are likely to be raised as to why the U.S. government has not been more aggressive in hunting down alleged tax cheats, analysts say.

    The United States, along with Belgium, Argentina, India, and others, are said to be investigating the massive bank.

    More here: US to Probe How HSBC Bank Helped Clients Avoid Millions in Taxes

  2. #2
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    They are customers not clients and avoid is legal, whereas evade is illegal.

    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
    A division of the revenue dept.?

  3. #3
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    HSBC should be probed right up the backside with a Saturn V rocket, starting with the 'executive director' Stuart Gulliver and on down through the ranks.

  4. #4
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    HSBC Files Raise Questions About Oversight of Senior Bankers Past and Present

    The five were involved in either acquiring, overseeing or managing the Swiss operation, which helped clients conceal assets from the taxman

    The Guardian, Feb 9, 2015
    By David Leigh, James Ball, Juliette Garside and David Pegg

    Apart from Stephen Green there are five other former senior bankers caught up in the scandal that has engulfed HSBC, one of the world’s biggest banks, following the leak of its Swiss operation’s secret customer list. Sir John Bond, Stuart Gulliver, Clive Bannister, Chris Meares and Peter Braunwalder were involved in either acquiring, overseeing or managing HSBC’s Swiss bank, which helped clients conceal assets from taxman.

    HSBC’s present leaders now describe the Swiss bank as an operation with “compliance and control failures”, where individuals “took advantage of bank secrecy to hold undeclared accounts”, and which took on “high-risk” customers. Four of them have since left HSBC, and none want to talk about it. Confronted with the evidence of misconduct at the Swiss subsidiary, each has remained silent.

    Sir John Bond

    It was Sir John Bond who took the decision to purchase the Swiss bank in 1999. These were the banking boom years, and Bond was on a spending spree, snapping up Edmond Safra’s Republic National Bank of New York together with its Swiss arm. Safra, who built up the business, had died in a Monaco fire. Bond’s newly acquired Swiss operation now sought fresh customers from South Africa, Ireland, the UK, the Middle East, France, Italy and Germany, while retaining many existing customers from Israeli families, Safra’s early client base.

    When the news originally surfaced early in 2010 that there had been a leak at HSBC’s Swiss bank, it caused consternation. As the wall of secrecy cracked, depositors fled. In Belgium, scores of diamond dealers were raided by the authorities. In Spain, the Botín family, who head Santander bank, were forced to pay back taxes. French examining magistrates and the US Department of Justice both began to swing into action.

    Bond left in 2006 at the age of 65. He went on to chair Vodafone and Xstrata.

    Stuart Gulliver

    Stuart Gulliver, handed the job of chief executive in 2010, was faced with the problem. Gulliver, who had become one of the world’s best rewarded investment bankers with a salary in excess of £10m, had himself been on the board of the bank’s private banking division, HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) SA from 2007 on. But he and the bank maintain that the Swiss arm, although part of the private banking division, was an independent, even maverick, operation. Swiss bank secrecy laws reigned supreme, they say.

    As alarm grew at HSBC’s London HQ, plans were made for the toxic parts of the Geneva bank to be quietly dumped. A unit that had specifically targeted diamond dealers was shut down. The Chinese business was shifted to HSBC’S Asia-Pacific division in Singapore and Hong Kong, and many of the remaining European clients in Switzerland were sold off for an undisclosed price in 2014 to LGT bank in Liechtenstein.

    Clive Bannister & Chris Meares

    Two other British executives, Clive Bannister, succeeded in 2006 by Chris Meares, ran the worldwide private banking operation day by day. HSBC insists its group operated under a federal structure, with local subsidiaries enjoying varying degrees of autonomy. But executives were proud of the Swiss operation. Meares publicly applauded at the time its “very strong performances”, with “record profits”.

    He also assured the UK parliament’s Treasury committee in 2008: “We prohibit our bankers from encouraging or being involved in tax evasion. If our bankers, sitting in London say, get any hint that there is tax evasion … If they have a suspicion that it is happening, then we file a suspicion transaction report to the authorities.” Bannister left in 2010 and is now CEO of Phoenix Group, a life insurance company. Meares left in 2011 and now chairs the London investment managers Quilter Cheviot.

    Peter Braunwalder

    The first manager of the actual Geneva bank was Sem Almaleh, who dated from Safra’s time. He was succeeded in 2002 by Braunwalder, a Swiss who also holds a British passport. In the period 2005-7 covered by the leaks, Braunwalder was directly in charge. By December 2007, he boasted he had doubled deposits to £78bn. Profits were running at £550m a year. Braunwalder left HSBC in 2008. He is now president of the Swiss dental implant company Thommen Medical.

    But the bank’s IT specialist, Hervé Falciani, had already hacked the files by then and made off to France, and eventually Spain, where he lived under a witness protection scheme before eventually returning to France.

    HSBC was already in the firing line. Following a withering US Senate committee report, the bank paid a massive $1.9bn in penalties in the US in 2012 for effectively helping launder Mexican drug cash. It says this was an inadvertent failure of controls.

    The US explicitly declined to pursue a criminal prosecution against HSBC over its Mexican misconduct, on the grounds the bank was too big to lose its licence and employed too many people. But now, as the bank admits, its Swiss unit is under criminal investigation in Europe for “organised money-laundering”.

    HSBC piously told the public by 2013: “All over the world, we follow the letter, and also the spirit, of local laws and regulations.” It did not mention the Swiss scandal.


    Hervé Falciani hacked the HSBC files when he was the Swiss bank’s IT expert. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

    HSBC files raise questions about oversight of senior bankers past and present | Business | The Guardian

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit
    U.S. banking officials plan to appear on Capitol Hill this week to address allegations that Britain's largest financial institution helped global clients avoid taxes and hide hundreds of millions of dollars in assets.
    I'd like to see prison sentences for senior bank execs and reclaiming of their multimillion bonuses (which were based on corruption and law breaking), not bank fines which will be passed onto the customers.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Any bank that will help me avoid taxes is my bank!

    Too bad HSBC Thailand isn't taking any private customers...

  7. #7
    I am in Jail

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    The Banksters abuse the rule of law as they conspire with the government they own.

    The HaveNots drowning slowly while the HaveYachts pull away with corrupted impunity.

    The Icelanders had the right idea by jailing them.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo
    not bank fines which will be passed onto the customers.
    They simply take an interest free loan out to pay these fines. They can also get paid to take these loans as well.

    Prison - life sentences with no parole. All assets confiscated, with dawn raids on all of them (offices and houses) to find what else they have been up to. They could use terrorism laws easily enough; they arrest a handful of blokes for sending 5k to Syria, so they could easily arrest all these bastards who launder and send billions to terrorists.

    Problem is... well you know the problem so no point gilding the lily .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee View Post
    Any bank that will help me avoid taxes is my bank!
    Until the IRS shows up, then see how much support your bank will give you.

    HSBC excels at looking out for HSBC. They try hard to create the illusion that they care about their customer's well being. For customers, it's painfully obvious that all they really care about is how much they can rape you of your finances.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumocakewalk View Post
    HSBC should be probed right up the backside with a Saturn V rocket, starting with the 'executive director' Stuart Gulliver and on down through the ranks.
    While we're at it, let's go after all the banksters.

    The same club.

  11. #11
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    All of the big retail and investment banks have at least one Swiss bank subsidiary, last thing I knew. If someone legitimately opens a Swiss bank account and uses it to avoid tax, that is neither the banks fault or business- your banker is not privy to your tax returns (and neither does he want to be). The only reason HSBC is under the spotlight is because an employee/ hacker, Herve Falciani, stole it's client list in Switzerland and tried to hawk it to some governments. 'Whistleblower', mai ass- he wanted the money.

    The amount of tax illegally avoided by private individuals in offshore banking account probably runs into hundreds of millions, maybe even billions, annually. But as usual, the regulators are barking up the wrong tree, this time by focusing on Swiss banks on the back of an opportunist leaker.

    It is actually quite hard to open a Swiss banking account as an individual- you can't just roll up with a suitcase of cash, you will be shown the door. In contrast, there is a whole industry devoted to money laundering out of the Caribbean- and the amounts involved, in a criminal sense, dwarf those in Swiss private banks, where the money involved was (mainly) legally attained- but the naughty depositors don't always pay tax on their interest & capital gains, or even declare the account. Oftentimes the main motivation is not actually avoiding tax per se (after all, if you don't declare your profits on an offshore account, neither can you deduct your losses)- it is secrecy, or confidentiality. Basically, a number of rich folk don't want the government knowing where all of their stash is, 'just in case'. Given the increasingly intrusive nature of our governments and the legal system, perhaps you can understand why.

    Then there is the biggest tax scam of all- Transfer pricing by corporations, also involving offshore financial centres. The amount of tax avoided here, in a grey legal zone or often outright illegal sense, absolutely dwarfs that involving private accounts. But it is the great untouched and will likely remain so, because it involves corporations- which have assumed all of the rights of the individual in the modern age, with virtually none of the obligations.
    Last edited by sabang; 11-02-2015 at 03:47 AM.
    probes Aliens

  12. #12
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    Here is a synopsis of Herve Falciani's exploits-

    Whistleblower? Thief? Hero? Introducing the Source of the Data that Shook HSBC | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

    By stealing data from a Swiss bank, he broke Swiss law- so he's on the lam from Switzerland. Perhaps he's a celebrity elsewhere. If you are a US citizen (regardless of where you live), just opening a Swiss bank account and not declaring it is a crime- the IRS is an amazingly intrusive organisation. No matter if you avoided tax, or not. There are any number of banking jurisdictions a lot shadier than Switzerland frankly- especially for non-residents.

  13. #13
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    ^A good read and thanks for sharing the link.

    Whether Herve is a hero or thief, I see this as a similar situation to the case of Edward Snowden. Both seem to have broken confidentiality agreements and passed along data that according to their former employers they should not have. Both appear to claim their acts were done with the public's welfare in mind.

    There are strong opinions on both the hero and thief sides. With the HSBC case, those that have a direct interest in what was leaked, i.e. with exposed bank accounts, will not see Falciani's actions as a good thing, yet there will be many others who will hail his actions as being a step in the right direction. I am leaning towards the latter, though I will admit I am biased due to my dislike of big banks, and in particular HSBC.

  14. #14
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    If any of you need to use my Swiss Bank Account, just let me know.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by patsycat View Post
    If any of you need to use my Swiss Bank Account, just let me know.
    Withdrawals? Sure, send us the details.

  16. #16
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    Deposits for me, Patsy.

  17. #17
    I am in Jail

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    It's fine now everything is dandy!

    HSBC made a public apology for its mass theft and fraud...no need to pursue them anymore. That apology sorts it...let's just move along...nothing to see here.

    Labour have promised a full enquiry into mass theft of billions and that report will be out quick sharpish... 3 months after, and if, they win the next election, Ed Bollocks has promised.

    The blue tooth brigade consisting of House of Lords peers, tory MPs, and the rest of the HaveYachts brigade hope that this will stem the tide of Plebbish dis-content, and halt investigative revolting hordes

  18. #18
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    HSBC insists its group operated under a federal structure
    Scary statement, that. These huge corporations are now assuming the identities of pseudo-sovereign states - and consequently are rapidly becoming untouchable.

  19. #19
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    Former hsbc CEO, steven green, now LORD green, thanks Cameron, has 'no comment' to make when questioned about the Banksters irreputable dealings.

    Financing of Mexican drug cartels, with a death toll from be-headings amounting to 40,000...yet shock, horror, gasp at current ISIS business from the tory corrupted BBC.

    anti semitism, wtf is that? semites were arabs and jews; 2 sides of the same coin...fukin war mongers

    It's all fuked up

  20. #20
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    It's difficult for plebs such as I to comprehend the scale of cataclysmic fraud being undertaken in the Bankster theft capital of the world, London.

    When Iceland re-introduced the rule of law by going after, prosecuting and jailing their Bankster cheifs the world worried about the fallout..There was a ripple for a year or so, but now it's the only country in Europe that is solvent.

    That fall out didn't really affect world markets too much as their economy is an ocean piddle in comparison to the fraud that's happening today, courtesy of London's big brother 4, led by HSBC. No end in sight either as Cameron deflects, deceives, and lies to protect theiving ToryScum interests..and Labour are ToryScum in fake red.

    Unctuous Cameron just yesterday attacked another branch of the unfortunates in our society, the obese, by threatening to reduce their pittance of welfare from sod all to fuk all, drinkers and druggies must take courses to stop or be ostricized from welfare too...all youngsters signing on for the first time will have to do community service to qualify for their pittance too:

    Slave Labour.

    If the tories have it their way, the elite 1%, the slimy sadists are in cahoots with acting with lawless impunity, buying 5 million quid underground bunkers/luxury condos to survive the holocaust which is inevitable, us plebs are done for.

    Don't give a toss about myself, it's the kids!

    Please check out The Keiser Report, episode 720, on RT.com for a more articulate explanation of the scale of this mass fraud. Max should have combed his hair but was too busy pulling it out.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    Then there is the biggest tax scam of all- Transfer pricing by corporations, also involving offshore financial centres. The amount of tax avoided here, in a grey legal zone or often outright illegal sense, absolutely dwarfs that involving private accounts. But it is the great untouched and will likely remain so, because it involves corporations
    Following right on, an organisation called ICIJ is actually doing some great work here. It's relatively highbrow, but check out these Links-
    Explore the Documents: Luxembourg Leaks Database | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

    Tricks of the Trade | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

    ICIJ obtained the Disney and Koch tax documents as part of a trove of information that details big companies’ complex financial maneuvers through subsidiaries in Luxembourg. ICIJ received these documents last month, soon after publishing an earlier set of leaked documents detailing the Luxembourg tax deals negotiated by FedEx, Pepsi, IKEA and 340 other globe-spanning companies.
    Other companies appearing in the newest leaked files include Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, private equity firm Warburg Pincus, and Internet phone giant Skype.
    New Leak Reveals Luxembourg Tax Deals for Disney, Koch Brothers Empire | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

    Is your head spinning? Check this out then-
    Is Your Head Spinning? 5 Tips to Understand the ?Lux Leaks? Files | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

    I repeat- what Corporations are doing (especially MNC's) dwarves private tax evasion. The cost to you and me and our respective governments is far, far higher too.

  22. #22
    I am in Jail

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    This thread should go hand in hand with pseudo's 'Money = Debt' thread. Is it possible to combine them?

    Unfortunately, the detractors in denial can't see the wood for the trees; as they're a bit thick: the trees of course

  23. #23
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    The US investigates Swiss Banking - so it would seem.

    Interesting to watch this one - will the Swiss roll over?

    I have a funny feeling they wont.

    Could be wrong of course.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    By stealing data from a Swiss bank,
    wasn't he more of a 'whistleblower'

    exposing crooks.

  25. #25
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    ^ I doubt his prime motive was exposing crooks, seeing as he tried to hawk the list of clients to more than one government for money (Ed Snowden didn't do that). The list in quetion was not a list of crooks- it was a list of account holders, of which presumably some were crooks. But there are differnt levels of crook, for example a HNW individual who salts some money away in Switzerland and keeps it quiet, is a tax evader. A violent drug cartel kingpin with a Swiss account is an entirely different level of crook.

    But, in monetary terms at least, the biggest crooks are the MNC Corporations, by far. And they control your governments and their enforcement agencies. They own the Politicians. Politicians, like whores, rely on them like johns for the money. No money, no honey. Just think back to the Bailout package to have some inkling of the power they wield under the current, bastardised political system. Who was that designed to benefit, and who actually wrote it? Them, in both cases.

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