Leaked documents from HSBC Switzerland reveal how the bank designed schemes using loopholes and offshore banking structures to help clients allegedly evade millions of pounds in taxes from 2005 – 2007, report the BBC, Guardian, ICIJ and other outlets today.
Global Witness is calling for tighter banking regulation and criminal penalties for senior executives responsible for serious failings, so as to put an end to this kind of systemic abuse in the future. HSBC repeatedly claims that it has cleaned up its act since this period, but in 2012 it was fined $1.9bn by the U.S. authorities for money laundering failures.
“HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint recently warned that ‘excessive regulation’ is making his employees too risk-averse, but the facts make this hard to believe. These repeat offences show just how far Britain’s biggest bank has been willing to go to help clients hide their money and its origins. We need real action against individual executives when they intentionally seek to subvert the law,” said Robert Palmer, head of the anti-money laundering campaign at Global Witness.
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