The Breaking HSBC Scandal Reveals UK Govt Is Chief Henchman Of The Mafia Banking System

B004An international collaboration of media outlets have leaked HSBC files which prove the Bank has actively sought to undermine domestic tax laws by hiding more than $100bn in Swiss bank accounts – but what is truly remarkable, it the complicity of the UK government in helping the 1% avoid paying their dues.

Sicilian mafia families have a position in their criminal organisation called the ‘consigliere’.  A consigliere is an adviser or counselor to the boss, with the additional responsibility of representing the boss in important meetings both within the boss’s crime family and with other crime families. The consigliere is a close, trusted friend and confidant.

The relationship between the UK government, the HMRC and the banking sector appears to be one of consigliere – with the former providing advice and representation services for the latter, against the interests of the public.

The HSBC Rapsheet

B005The rap sheet for HSBC funding and colluding with the criminals of the world is a long and sad affair.  HSBC has been caught laundering money for Mexican drug cartels, breaking sanctions with so-called pariah states, and funding the very same ‘terrorists’ the UK government is sending troops and weapons across the globe to defeat.

This is not a conspiracy theory.  HSBC were found guilty in a court of law of funnelling the proceeds of crime through their books knowingly and deliberately, and it was not the act of some rogue trader.

HSBC set up a subsidiary firm with the specific intention of using it to launder the money of Mexican drug barons.  It spirited away over $7bn of the stuff between 2001 and 2007.

HSBC deliberately concealed transactions between 2001 and 2007 worth $19.7bn which mostly involved Iran.  These trades were illegal under US trade restrictions.  HSBC Europe and HSBC Middle East repeatedly removed information from transactions to conceal that they were dealings with Iran.

HSBC also pressured its US subsidiary to rekindle its relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Al Rahji banks which was found after 9/11 to have relationships with terrorist organisations.

Finally, HSBC’s US subsidiary happily cashed over £290m in dodgy travellers cheques used to launder Russian money without taking due diligence procedures.

The penalty HSBC will face for such rampant criminal behaviour?  A fine equivalent to just 14% of the profits posted by the bank for one year.  No one is held personal responsible; no one goes to jail; no one’s personal fortune is diminished.

And now, in the latest leak, we find they have been running a wholesale tax evasion scheme out of a Swiss subsidiary bank.  As the Guardian reports:

The files – obtained through an international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, BBC Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists – reveal that HSBC’s Swiss private bank:

Routinely allowed clients to withdraw bricks of cash, often in foreign currencies of little use in Switzerland.

Aggressively marketed schemes likely to enable wealthy clients to avoid European taxes.

Colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from their domestic tax authorities.

Provided accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen and other high-risk individuals.

The HSBC files, which cover the period 2005-2007, amount to the biggest banking leak in history, shedding light on some 30,000 accounts holding almost $120bn (£78bn) of assets.

HSBC had no choice but to hold their hands up and confess to yet another lapse in compliance.

“We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures,” the bank said in a statement. “HSBC was run in a more federated way than it is today and decisions were frequently taken at a country level,” the bank said.

Which of course raises serious questions about the lever of oversight provided by the senior management of the Bank, which has it’s headquarters in the City of London.

But whilst we might expect the criminal banking sector to be doing everything it can to save its clients money – what was the response of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the UK government? They, after all, should be doing everything they can to better the public finances.

The Role of the HMRC

B006It turns out that tax authorities around the world have had confidential access to the leaked files since 2010, but chose not to expose the Swiss bank’s misconduct to the public.  This is probably because the files include Hollywood stars, royalty, and the heirs to some of Europe’s biggest fortunes.

The decision not to go public would have been made under the stewardship of former HMRC Chief Executive Dave Hartnett (pictured above) – a man with a track record in sweetheart deals with tax avoiders.

UKU2

Osita Mba (pictured above), whilst working as a tax solicitor at the HMRC (the organisation responsible for ensuring proper tax contributions by persons and corporations) discovered HMRC Chief Executive Dave Hartnett made an off the books sweetheart deal with Goldman Sachs.  The deal, made over coffee, saw Hartnett unilaterally relieve Goldman Sachs of their legal obligation to pay up to £20m of interest on back taxes they’d aggressively avoided paying for five years.   Mba wrote to Amyas Morse, the auditor general of the National Audit Office, in March 2011 outlining his concerns over the deal.  In response, The HMRC immediately suspended Mr Mba, referred his details to the Criminal Investigations unit and used RIPA legislation intended for terrorists and financial criminals to spy on him and his wife.

This is how the HMRC treat an employee who seeks to ensure that corporations follow the tax rules.

When it came to the HSBC debacle, Hartnett adopted the same approach.  HSBC is already facing criminal investigations and charges in France, Belgium, the US and Argentina as a result of the leak of the files, but no legal action has been taken against it in Britain.  Sweetheart deals were made with tax evaders to recoup some of the lost revenue, and the matter was hushed up.

In late 2011, when Hartnett’s sweetheart deals with Goldman Sachs were exposed, and his shambolic appearances before the Public Accounts Committee left him a public joke he was not forced to resign.  Instead, he was allowed to retire with a £1.7m pension pot.

His next job? He was offered and accepted a position with none other than HSBC, as part of its new anti tax avoidance division.  You could not make it up.

The HMRC which should be chasing down tax evaders is helping them out, the UK government which should be acting in the public interest is lobbying in Europe on behalf of bankers – and meanwhile the DWP is harassing sick and disabled welfare claimants literally to death in the name of ‘austerity’. The system is broken.

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26 thoughts on “The Breaking HSBC Scandal Reveals UK Govt Is Chief Henchman Of The Mafia Banking System

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  4. In it’s handling of the leaked data from the Swiss branch of HSBC back in 2010, HMRC allowed those of wrong doing further favourable treatment including immunity from prosecution by allowing them to settle under the Liechtenstein disclosure facility which offered penalties of just 10% of unpaid tax rather than 200% of unpaid tax.

    Furthermore, the terms of the LDF excluded these 1,100 from it’s favourable treatment because HMRC already had the information and therefore the disclosure was not made voluntarily.

    Potentially costing us the British taxpayer £millions, with the possibility of more than the 1 prosecution HMRC brought from the data received.

  5. the recent declaration by Osbourne – “It’s not my job to catch tax dodgers”
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/george-osborne-breaks-silence-hsbc-5198141

    In the Mirror article he claims to have properly resourced HMRC so to help collect tax owed, that’s not something that tax analyst and campaigner Richard Murphy would agree with (from April 2012) – “HMRC say their vision is to close the tax gap – by sacking 10,000 of their staff”
    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2012/04/16/hmrc-say-there-vision-is-to-close-the-tax-gap-by-sacking-10000-of-their-staff/

    This is a government that sees tax as being something that’s only paid for by the little people so to allow and fund the big boys to do their ‘Ayn Rand’-ian big schemes and inturn screw everyone else. Sick.

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  7. The system’s not broken, it’s not bothering to hide who it really works for anymore. We’ve been run by the banks for their own benefit loosely speaking since they got their man installed as king in William of Orange. We’ve been a battery farm, essentially, and increasingly the farmers/bankers aren’t bothering to disguise this. I suspect this is because they don’t really need us now as they can make more money faster through gambling, now they’ve been deregulated, than they can through normal banking practice, hence the destruction of the bank manager network and the ongoing closure of branches. They don’t care what we think now, we’re no longer needed.

  8. EIR’s “Dope Inc.”, first published 1978, casts some light on this sort of thing. Just a seamless continuum from the Chinese Opium Wars and before.

    Regarding tax avoidance generally, it doesn’t wring my withers that much; why should it? A hefty chunk of UK taxes go toward servicing the falsified indebtedness that is sterling government “borrowing” and substantial amounts must surely be devoted to anti-white, anti-British projects like the never democratically-sanctioned genocidal influx of unassimilable aliens. But we don’t hear people complaining about that too much, now do we?

    So where were all your MPs on 20 November 2014 if not in the Chamber of the House of Commons?

  9. The article is excellent and I endorse everything you say…but please can you remove amazon from your list of preferred suppliers. They are part of the problem. I am an independent bookseller, I have ordered your book, but Amazon will put me out of a job eventually. We pay our tax, they don’t…
    Do this,and I will subscribe. This is a’ put your money where your mouth is ‘ moment for both of us!

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m happy to invite people to buy from ethical suppliers (you see me on here doing that all the time) – but I won’t tell people how to buy. I have nothing against online distributors of books, such as Amazon, so long as they pay and treat their staff well, and abide by environmental, tax and other relevant laws. Amazon don’t. They suck. I would prefer people did not buy from them. That’s my two-pennies worth on the matter, but I don’t believe in dictating to people what to do, just empowering them with the information required to make their choices with a clear knowledge of the impacts.

      I wish your book shop all the success in the world, and I hope it remains a source of community and knowledge-sharing in your area.

  10. Royals are the UK consigliere, and politicians are butlers and footmen to the bankers.
    ‘Prince’ Charles, so-called, is this very day off to pay homage to the new God father
    in Saudi America. Cavorting with the be-headers. He’ll have had his orders.

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  13. We should follow the lead of Iceland and prosecute, then jail if guilty of wrong doing. Why are these people ” untouchable “. If a homeless/hungry person steals food from a supermarket they throw the book at them. Time for big changes at Westminster and in the Banking fraternal, before this whole country goes on strike and/or riots. As a pensioner and of the “old ways of thinking” I would be prepared to march in protest, never thought I would have to do that!

  14. Last year my husband was bullied by HMRC because they thought he owed £1,000 in tax. We are senior UK citizens living in Canada since our retirement. He didn’t owe it but they insisted he pay then he could appeal it. We couldn’t afford to just pay over that amount out of our pensions when we knew they were wrong. It took most of last year too sort it out….and yes they were wrong but their bullying tactics were disgraceful.
    Reading about this scandal makes me very angry.

    • So sorry to hear about your not so uncommon experience. I am sad to say it is path of the course now at HMRC.

      They have slashed staffing levels and now have a “relationship building team” for big corporations which means in order to keep the public happy and be seen to be prosecuting “wrongdoers” they have now shifted their focus to small business and individuals.

      All courtesy of our esteemed chancellor Mr George Osborne and his “austerity measures”

  15. Last year my husband was bullied by HMRC because they thought he owed £1,000 in tax. We are senior UK citizens living in Canada since our retirement. He didn’t owe it but they insisted he pay then he could appeal it. We couldn’t afford to just pay over that amount out of our pensions when we knew they were wrong. It took most of last year too sort it out….and yes they were wrong but their bullying tactics were disgraceful. To read about this scandal makes my blood boil…..

  16. Odd that benefit ‘scroungers’ are plastered all over the media and cost the tax payer very little compared to the wealthy who cheat and cost the taxpayer millions are faceless. Name them all and display their pictures.

    • Royalty – one of the perpetrators.
      British royals ?
      No surprise then after Prince Charles was exposed for lobbying parliament for trying to get funds from a “Poverty Fund” for the central heating at Buckingham Palace ! Lol
      However they, the Royals, are exempt from the latest prison state legislation “Freedom of Information”. No points for guessing that legislation only applies to the, already impoverished, electorate. The message to the electorate ?
      “Work harder for les pay – pay up – shut up – no objections, no consultation or get banged up !” We just legislate to ensure your silence haha !
      Strike action ? Forget that – we have kettling, surveillance ( more CCTV cameras than China ). You cannot escape. Just keep working – keep paying.
      The rich, after all, cannot contribute to the austerity measures – you, the middle man must keep paying.
      Cough up, shut up ! ! !

    • I couldn’t agree more, Elaine. I always suspected that bankers held this country to ransom and now I have the proof and how they went about it! EXPOSE THEM!

  17. Once again it shows how cams and co help these evade their duty isnt it strange that cams was at a dinner for himself and party grovelling for some money off them so he can go on with his austerity for the ninty nine percent who aint rich jeff3

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