Swiss Leaks



HSBC Files: Bank helped Clients dodge Taxes and hide Millions - the Guardian: LINK ¤ the GUARDIAN

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  • "HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars"

 

 

 

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  • "doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities"

 

 

 

 

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the files reveal that the private bank:



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  • "routinely allowed clients to withdraw bricks of cash, often in foreign currencies of little use in Switzerland"

 

 

 

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  • "aggressively marketed schemes to enable wealthy clients to avoid European taxes"

 

 

 

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  • "colluded with clients to conceal undeclared "black" accounts from their domestic tax authorities"

 

 

 

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  • "provided accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen and other high-risk individuals"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the HSBC files, which cover the period 2005-2007, amount to the biggest banking leak in history"

 

 

 

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  • "shedding light on 30,000 accounts holding US$ 120bn of assets"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Hollywood stars, shopkeepers, royalty and clothing merchants"

 

 

 

 

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  • "feature in the files along with the heirs to some of Europe’s biggest fortunes"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "and providing banking services to relatives of dictators, people implicated in corruption scandals, arms industry figures and others"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "bankers routinely handed over large sums of cash to visiting clients, asking few questions"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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banking Giant HSBC sheltered murky Cash - ICIJ: LINK ¤ I C I J

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  • "the leaked files, based on the inner workings of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm"

 

 

 

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  • "relate to accounts holding more than US$ 100 billion"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the documents show the bank’s dealings with clients engaged in a spectrum of illegal behavior"

 

 

 

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  • "especially in hiding hundreds of millions of dollars from tax authorities"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "they also show private records of famed soccer and tennis players, cyclists, rock stars"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Hollywood actors, royalty, politicians, corporate executives and old-wealth families"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "global banking giant HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the secret files covering accounts associated with more than 100,000 individuals and legal entities from more than 200 nations"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the account records show some clients making trips to Geneva to withdraw large wads of cash, sometimes in used notes"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in many instances the records do describe questionable behavior, such as bankers advising clients"

 

 

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  • "on how to take a range of measures to avoid paying taxes in their home countries"

 

 

 

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  • "and customers telling bankers that their accounts are not declared to their governments"

 

 

 

 

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  • "some clients linked to millions and sometimes tens of millions of dollars in their accounts"

 

 

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  • "are politically-connected figures such as Rachid Mohamed Rachid"

 

 

 

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  • "the former Egyptian trade minister who fled Cairo in February 2011 amid the uprising against Hosni Mubarak"

 

 

 

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  • "Rachid, who is listed as having power of attorney over an account worth US$ 31 million"

 

 

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  • "was convicted in absentia for alleged profiteering and squandering public funds"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "other names in the files include Frantz Merceron"

 

 

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  • "the bagman for the late former Haitian President Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier"

 

 

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  • "who was accused of having looted up to US$ 900 million before fleeing his country"

 

 

 

 

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  • "and Rami Makhlouf, whose cousin and close associate, Syrian President Bashar al Assad"

 

 

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  • "over the past three years has helped cause the deaths of tens of thousands of his citizens in the country"

 

 

 

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  • "Makhlouf is listed as a beneficial owner on multiple accounts"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the files feature people who figure in legal proceedings, such as Vladimir Antonov"

 

 

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  • "the former owner of an English soccer club, Portsmouth FC"

 

 

 

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  • "who faces trial in Lithuania over an alleged € 500 million bank fraud"

 

 

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  • "Antonov is listed as a beneficial owner on an account worth US$ 65 million"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Margulan Seisembayev, a Kazakh banker accused by the Alliance Bank of looting its assets"

 

 

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  • "Seisembayev is listed as beneficial owner of multiple accounts"

 

 

 

 

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  • "and Tancred Tabone, the former head of the Malta state oil company Enemalta"

 

 

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  • "who is facing prosecution for allegedly demanding bribes"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "others who appear are Li Xiaolin"

 

 

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  • "the daughter of former Chinese Premier Li Peng, famous for his role in the Tiananmen Square massacre"

 

 

 

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  • "Li Xiaolin is listed, along with her husband, as a beneficial owner of an account that held US$ 2.5 million"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the beloved cousin of Queen Elizabeth II of England and his wife"

 

 

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  • "the account was held in the name of their company, Cantium Services Limited"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the files reflect a spectrum of royalty, from King Mohammed VI of Morocco"

 

 

 

 

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  • "to the Crown prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa"

 

 

 

 

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  • "to dozens of members of Saudi Arabia's ruling family. Many were partial or full beneficial owners of accounts"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the billionaire owner of the Victoria’s Secret lingerie chain, Les Wexner"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "and the Israeli diamond-dealing Steinmetz family"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "many of the accounts were held by companies in offshore tax havens"

 

 

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  • "such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama or in the remote Pacific island of Niue"

 

 

 

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  • "thousands more used de-identified, numbered accounts"

 

 

 

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  • "the files show that many individuals linked to accounts took extra precautions to protect their identities"

 

 

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  • "even though HSBC staff repeatedly assured customers they were already bound by tight Swiss banking secrecy"

 

 

 

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  • ""acct holder Mr. Ch.B.G. would like to be called Mr. Shaw"

 

 

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  • "so the entire discussion we were speaking about Mr. Shaw," the staff member wrote in one document"

 

 

 

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  • "at the time of the note, Goode was the chairman of ANZ bank, one of Australia’s biggest"

 

 

 

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  • "Goode was called in the Australian Parliament "a man who is the bag carrier, the fundraiser, for the (conservative) Liberal party""

 

 

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  • "the current ruling party of the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the documents raise new questions about past public statements by HSBC"

 

 

 

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  • "that staff did not help customers engage in tax evasion"

 

 

 

 

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  • "in July 2008, for example, Chris Meares, the then head of private banking for HSBC, told a British parliamentary hearing"

 

 

 

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  • "we prohibit our bankers from encouraging or being involved in tax evasion"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "an HSBC employee wrote this note in the file of Irish businessman John Cashell, who would later to be convicted of a tax fraud in his native country"

 

 

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  • "his pre-occupation is with the risk of disclosure to the Irish authorities"

 

 

 

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  • "once again I endeavoured to reassure him that there is no risk of that happening"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the bank itself became uneasy over a20 million transaction by a Serbian businessman"

 

 

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  • "but the bank employees merely asked him to act less conspicuously"

 

 

 

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  • ""explained that as per today the bank did not interfere in his money transfer transactions," the relevant document says"

 

 

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  • "but would have preferred to reduce those activities on a lower scale"

 

 

 

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  • "he understands our concerns and will use smaller amounts"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the files show that some European customers were given advice on how to avoid a withholding tax"

 

 

 

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  • "on bank savings that came into effect in European Union countries in 2005"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Switzerland had agreed to implement the tax - called the European Savings Directive, or ESD"

 

 

 

 

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  • "but the ESD pertained only to individuals, not to corporations"

 

 

 

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  • "HSBC private bank seized on this loophole to market products that transformed individuals into corporations for tax-reporting purposes"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the documents record that day by day throughout 2005, clients arrived in Switzerland to make cash withdrawals"

 

 

 

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  • "in British pounds, Euros, Swiss francs, US dollars, even Danish krone - sometimes asking for small used notes"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "in one transaction, the British business tycoon Richard Caring, accompanied by security"

 

 

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  • "was depicted in September 2005 collecting more than five million Swiss francs in cash"

 

 

 

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  • "HSBC staff explained handing Caring the huge sum of cash by quoting a statement by him"

 

 

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  • "that he planned to deposit the cash with another Swiss bank, and did not want either bank to be aware of the other"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "some of the most extensive material relates to the bank’s UK Clients"

 

 

 

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  • "more than 5,000 British clients linked to US$ 61 billion in HSBC deposits - more clients and more money than from any other country"

 

 

 

 

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  • "Stephen Green, the head of HSBC during the period the records cover, later became trade minister in the Cameron government in Britain"

 

 

 

 

 


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  • "the files show that almost 2,000 of HSBC clients who appear in the files are associated with the diamond industry"

 

 

 

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  • "among them is Emmanuel Shallop, who was subsequently convicted of dealing in blood diamonds"

 

 

 

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  • "HSBC was aware that Shallop was under investigation by Belgian authorities at the time it was helping him"

 

 

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  • "we have opened a company account for him based in Dubai. The client is very cautious"

 

 

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  • "because he is under pressure from Belgian authorities, who are investigating his activities in the area of diamond fiscal fraud"

 

 

 

 

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  • "people on the Most Wanted list of Interpol, the international police agency"

 

 

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  • "such as the diamond dealers Mozes Victor Konig and Kenneth Lee Akselrod, are among the HSBC account holders"

 

 

 

 

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  • "and so is Elias Murr, who is president of the board of Interpol’s foundation for a safer world"

 

 

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  • "Murr was interior minister of Lebanon when an HSBC account owned by him was held through a company called Callorford Investments Limited"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the account contained US$ 42 million"

 

 

 

 

 



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  • "how the offshore banking industry shelters money and hides secrets"

 

 

 

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  • "has enormous implications for societies across the globe"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "academics conservatively estimate that US$ 7.6 trillion is held in overseas tax havens"

 

 

 

 

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  • "costing government treasuries at least US$ 200 billion a year"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "eonomist Thomas Piketty: the offshore industry is a major threat for our democratic institutions and our basic social contract"

 

 

 

 

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  • "financial opacity is one of the key drivers of rising global inequality"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "it allows a large fraction of top income and top wealth groups to pay negligible tax rates"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "while the rest of us pay large taxes in order to finance the public goods and services"

 

 

 

 

 

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Catalogue of Malpractice endorsed by Bankers
- the Guardian:
LINK ¤ the GUARDIAN

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  • "the HSBC files, the biggest banking leak in history, reveal the full scale of malpractice"

 

 

 

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  • "these cases were part of a persistent pattern of misconduct"

 

 

 

 

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  • "in one case that illustrates the bank’s conduct, a wealthy British client, Stoke City football club director Keith Humphreys"

 

 

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  • "whose wealth originated from the sale of a local supermarket chain"

 

 

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  • "explained that one HSBC manager had already advised how to extract undeclared offshore money via a credit card"

 

 

 

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  • "the credit card is thus used to enable the Humphreys family to make withdrawals from "cash points" when they are outside the UK"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the banker, who even brought paperwork to Humphreys’ stately home in Cheshire because the client was uneasy about "walking around with a set of account-opening documents""

 

 

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  • "recorded how Humphreys was also alarmed to hear a Swiss lawyer might realise he had a secret HSBC account"

 

 

 

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  • "this situation initially appeared to cause some disquiet to my hosts"

 

 

 

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  • "though this later gave way to a more relaxed attitude with the sentiment that Genevan lawyers would be discreet"

 

 

 

 

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  • "on clinching arrangements in London, the bank manager wrote:"

 

 

 

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  • "we subsequently repaired to the Ritz, for a very enjoyable lunch"

 

 

 


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the Backstory of a worldwide Investigation - Le Monde: LINK ¤ LE MONDE

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  • "on 28 January 2014 Le Monde published a first series of articles about the French judicial inquiry"

 

 

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  • "under the headline "Tax evasion: the highly sensitive investigation into the HSBC lists""

 

 

 

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  • "a few days after those articles were published, a person appeared at Le Monde’s reception on Boulevard Auguste Blanqui in Paris"

 

 

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  • "this source, whose identity shall remain secret, gave us a memory stick containing all the files"

 

 

 

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  • "the French tax authorities had extracted from the Falciani lists in the strictest secrecy since 2009"

 

 

 

 

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  • "whose names we shall publish if we consider it to be in the public interest ? Arms traffickers and drug smugglers"

 

 

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  • "politicians, celebrities, sporting idols and captains of industry, most of them keen to hide their money in Switzerland"

 

 

 

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  • "it was perfectly illegal for the French clients and for many others to do this"

 

 

 

 

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  • "they were all encouraged by HSBC’s executive committee to hide their money behind offshore screen structures, generally based in Panama or the British Virgin Islands"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "Le Monde decided in spring 2014 to share it with the international press"

 

 

 

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  • "to ensure that it would be treated as completely and accurately as possible"

 

 

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  • "in total secrecy, the ICIJ mobilised 154 journalists from 47 media outlets in various countries"

 

 

 

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  • "on a Monday in September 2014, 40 journalists from around the world gathered in a room at Le Monde’s offices"

 

 

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  • "they knew that this was a major story, but the mass of confidential information they were about to discover was beyond their wildest imaginings"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the meeting lasted nine hours, with only short breaks to eat. It marked the launch of one of the largest journalistic operations"

 

 

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  • "the decision to share access to the data with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is symbolic"

 

 

 

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  • "of a new era in international investigative journalism"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "let’s call it "2.0" for short"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "the ICIJ in turn set up a network of unprecedented size to handle the HSBC data"

 

 

 

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  • "the first was a secure forum, a kind of closed Facebook on which to post their discoveries"

 

 

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  • "the second, "Blacklight", a database that was searchable by name, country and source"

 

 

 

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  • "and the third, "Graph", an app to visualise the links between assignees and offshore holdings and companies"

 

 

 

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  • "all communications would be encrypted"

 

 

 

 

 

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  • "then everyone set to work, each in their own way. At the Guardian, four journalists papered the walls of a room with hundreds of Post-Its"

 

 

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  • "arranged by category: politicians, celebrities, drug dealers, philanthropists, arms dealers, and so on"

 

 

 

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  • "Le Monde also set up a special unit"

 

 

 

 

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  • "HSBC private bank and the Swiss political and fiscal authorities have, since the very beginning"

 

 

 

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  • "disputed both the figures established by the tax office and prosecutors in France and the use of this data"

 

 

 

 

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  • "for its part, HSBC seems prepared to follow suit with the French judicial authorities to avoid a trial that could be ruinous for the bank"

 

 

 

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  • "and not just in terms of its reputation"

 

 

 

 



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HSBC Boss Stuart Gulliver apologies - the Guardian: LINK ¤ the GUARDIAN

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  • "the bank’s chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, said the media revelations had been "a painful experience""

 

 

 

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  • "he wanted to assure customers that its Swiss private bank had been "completely overhauled""

 

 

 

 

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  • "we must show we understand that the societies we serve expect more from us"

 

 

 

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  • "we therefore offer our sincerest apologies"

 

 

 

 

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  • "we have absolutely no appetite to do business with clients who are evading their taxes or who fail to meet our financial crime compliance standards"

 

 

 

 

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  • "the fallout from the claims caused the bank’s former boss Stephen Green to step down at financial services lobby group "TheCityUK""

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SWISS LEAKS - Wikipedia EN:
LINK ¤ SWISS LEAKS

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  • "Swiss Leaks is the name of a journalistic investigation of a giant tax evasion scheme"

 

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  • "operated with the knowledge and encouragement of the British multinational bank HSBC via its Swiss subsidiary, HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)"

 

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  • "180.6 billion euros passed through accounts held with HSBC in Geneva by over 100,000 clients and 20,000 offshore companies"

 

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HSBC: milliardenschwere Geschäfte - der Standard: LINK ¤ der STANDARD

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  • "bisher geheime Akten bringen die Großbank HSBC in Bedrängnis: die Schweizer Filiale war Hort für Steuerhinterziehung"

 

 

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  • "2008 setzte sich der frühere HSBC-Mitarbeiter Hervé Falciani mit den Daten von rund 130.000 Kunden nach Frankreich ab und übergab diese den dortigen Steuerbehörden"

 

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  • "die Ergebnisse sind hoch brisant. Sie betreffen Kundendaten aus mehr als 200 Ländern"

 

 

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  • "mit Einlagen von insgesamt über 75 Milliarden Euro"

 

 

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  • "darüber hinaus vermitteln sie ein Bild über das Geschäftsgebaren der Bank"

 

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  • "offenbar konnten internationale Kunden problemlos Milliarden an Schwarzgeld anlegen"

 

 

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  • "belastend kommt hinzu, dass die HSBC auch nicht davor zurückschreckte, selbst mit bereits verurteilten Kriminellen Geschäfte zu machen"

 

 

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  • "neben dem jordanischen und marokkanischen König oder der deutschen Industriellenfamilie Flick"

 

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  • "komplettiert ein who's who an Prominenz aus Kunst, Glamour und Sport die Liste derer, die versucht haben, ihr Geld am Fiskus vorbeizuschleusen"

 

 

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  • "Größen wie Sänger Phil Collins, Schauspieler Christian Slater oder Formel-1-Fahrer Fernando Alonso sind da keine Ausnahme"

 

 

 

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HSBC entschuldigt sich - der Standard: LINK ¤ der STANDARD

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  • "wir entschuldigen uns aufrichtig"

 

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  • "schrieb HSBC-Chef Stuart Gulliver in einem ganzseitigen Brief, der in mehreren britischen Zeitungen veröffentlicht wurde"

 

 

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  • "wir müssen zeigen, dass wir verstanden haben, dass die Gesellschaft, der wir dienen, mehr von uns erwartet"

 

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  • "wir wollen definitiv keine Geschäfte mit Kunden machen, die Steuern hinterziehen oder die Richtlinien der Bank zu Finanzkriminalität nicht erfüllen"

 

 

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  • "die Berichte über die Steueraffäre sind eine "schmerzhafte Erfahrung" für Kunden, Aktionäre und Mitarbeiter gewesen"

 

 

 

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  • "der frühere HSBC-Chef Stephen Green ist von seinem ehrenamtlichen Posten beim Lobbyverband TheCityUK, der die Interessen der Finanzindustrie vertritt, zurückgetreten"

 

 

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  • "Green war von 2006 bis 2010 Chairman der Großbank und davor ihr Chef"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SWISS LEAKS - Wikipedia DE:
LINK ¤ SWISS LEAKS

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  • "als Swiss-Leaks wird die im Februar 2015 erfolgte Veröffentlichung einer Steuerermittlung zu Kunden der HSBC-Niederlassung in Genf bezeichnet"

 

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  • "insgesamt betreffen die Daten 100 Milliarden US-Dollar von 106.000 Kunden aus 203 Ländern"
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