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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka’s wealthy among HSBC Tax Evaders leaked List?

Sri Lanka’s wealthy among HSBC Tax Evaders leaked List?

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Quibit


Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
HSBC Swiss leaks: Who were the worst tax evaders?

Revelations about HSBC, headquartered in Britain and led at the time by Sir John Bond, have emerged that show the bank helped wealthy clients across the world evade hundreds of millions of pounds worth of tax.

While details of the Swiss private-banking unit of HSBC's 30,000 accounts holding £78bn (€105bn, $119bn) were hacked in 2007 by its IT expert, Hervé Falciani, who fled with them to France, identities of the bank account holders only emerged this morning (9 February).

So who were the worst tax evaders? The list comprises the names of 106,000 account holders from over 200 countries.

At the time, HSBC controlled $100bn in assets and served a swath of super-rich depositors, from the elite to the illicit.

The report lists prominent figures in business, film, music, sport and even the heads of royal families and ambassadors, but account depositors also included arms dealers, terror suspects and fugitive diamond merchants.

UK clients

The biggest leak in banking history revealed HSBC helped 8,844 wealthy Britons avoid millions of pounds in tax.

One such client was Richard Caring, owner of celebrity hangout The Ivy restaurant in London.

According to The Guardian, the businessman stepped out of HSBC's Geneva branch in September 2005 after withdrawing five million Swiss francs in cash. Caring's tax status meant it was lawful for him to use a Swiss bank account.

Phil Collins, the drummer and lead vocalist for rock group Genesis, was one of super-rich clients HSBC helped to evade tax using secret 'black' accounts.

British actress Joan Collins, who was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997 for services to the dramatic arts and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to charity, was another client.

HMRC was given the leaked data in 2010 and has identified 1,100 people from the list of clients who had not paid their taxes. However, only one tax evader has been prosecuted.

World entertainers

While HSBC allowed depositors to conceal their identities, it is now known celebrities including rock star David Bowie – a Swiss national – held secret accounts.

They included the Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson, who was connected to seven separate HSBC Swiss client accounts. The report shows the four that remained open until 2008 contained almost £8.1m.

Formula One Italian businessman Flavio Briatore is also connected to 38 bank accounts that held as much as £50m between 2006 and 2007, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which published the list.

Christian Slater, the American-born actor who starred in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, and motorcyclist Valentino Rossi, were also named for banking huge sums in Switzerland.

Royal families

The report shows HSBC held accounts for King Mohammed VI of Morocco, dozens of members of the Saudi royal family and Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have no taxes to avoid and it is legal in both places to hold foreign accounts.

A spokesman for the Bahraini government told the press the crown prince's Swiss account did not provide any tax advantage.

Blood diamond dealers

The Indian Express, one of the media outlets given access to the HSBC documents, said the bank "profited from doing business with arms dealers who channelled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag-men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws".

Such clients included a "blood diamond" smuggler, Emmanuel Shallop, even though he was already being investigated over tax evasion.

The bank aided Shallop before he was convicted for his part in an illegal trade in Africa, where the gemstones smuggled out of and sold to fund civil wars in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Ivory Coast.

According to the Guardian, Shallop used his company, Shallop Diamonds, to trade conflict diamonds for Revolutionary United Front (RUF) leaders in Sierra Leone.

Other depositors include fugitives like diamond dealers Mozes Victor Konig and Kenneth Lee Akselrod, whose names appear on the wanted list run by Interpol, the international police agency.

Controversial figures

The report said the bank held deposits for controversial figures such as the late Frantz Merceron, the political operative for the former Haitian president Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, who was accused of embezzling hundreds of millions before fleeing his country.

The name of Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was also on the list alongside that of Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin targeted by sanctions over Ukraine.

According to the files, the former Egyptian trade minister, Rachid Mohamed Rachid is listed as having power of attorney over an account worth $31m. He fled Cairo during the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.

There is no suggestion of any impropriety or illegal behaviour by any of these people, as holding offshore accounts is legal.

However, deliberately hiding money to evade tax is not.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/hsbc-swiss-leaks-who-were-worst-tax-evaders-1487255

Quibit


Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Sri Lankan List will be published shortly!

janakatk

janakatk
Senior Equity Analytic
Senior Equity Analytic
I AM WAITING................... TO SEE WHO ARE ........ What a Face What a Face

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