HSBC deliberately pushed schemes on wealthy clients to transfer their money from private accounts into shell corporations chartered in Lichtenstein and other areas because a loophole said corporate money wasn’t taxable.
However, the corporations have no other function and did nothing else. Putting money into an entity whose sole existence is to avoid taxes is a textbook definition of abuse of tax shelters and tax fraud. Their clients are hardly blameless and had to know what HSBC was advising was tax evasion.
HSBC appears little more than a continuing criminal enterprise. It needs to be smashed to pieces and its criminals put in prison. And this might happen. HSBC is currently facing criminal charges in Belgium, a criminal investigation in France, and possibly in the US too.
Former tax inspector Richard Brooks said the files show that the bank “was actively encouraging them not to pay their tax bill … finding ways to get round new rules introduced in 2005 to tackle tax evasion. It was saying, ‘OK you don’t have to play along with those, we’ve got another product for you that will allow you to carry on evading tax.’”
HSBC also cheerfully laundered money for all manner of vermin.
Documents detail customers who faced allegations including drug-running, corruption, doping and money laundering
Despite being legally obliged since 1998 to make special checks on high-risk customers, the bank provided accounts for clients implicated in six notorious scandals in Africa, including Kenya’s biggest corruption case, blood diamond trading and several corrupt military sales.
HSBC also held assets for bankers accused of looting funds from former Soviet states, while alleged crimes by other account holders include bribery at Malta’s state oil company, cocaine smuggling from the Dominican Republic and the doping of professional cyclists in Spain.
HSBC is just one example, egregious to be sure, of rampant corruption at big banks worldwide. The entire international banking world is mostly rotten to the core.