Posted March 17, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
Herve Falciani has been called “the Edward Snowden of international banking”. He was an information technology specialist at HSBC Bank – hired to upgrade the bank’s software. He came to the point where he began noticing strange transactions. Transactions which led him to believe that massive corruption was going on at the bank – like tax evasion, aiding and abetting drug kingpins, and a variety of finance-related crimes.
As the reporter in the video puts it, “Falciani pulled off the largest bank heist in history. Not money, but bank records.” Receiving advice from law enforcement agencies, Herve Falciani stole account data every day for two years, eventually stopping at 127,000 individual and company accounts.
He fled to Spain where he knew that Spanish authorities were more aggressive in pursuit of tax evading people and corporations, knowing he was going to get arrested, and found himself in a Spanish courtroom. Spain decided not to extradite him because the legal system came to see that he had done the right thing. A woman Spanish prosecutor says in the report, “HSBC was acting like a tax haven in its own right”.
“Bank was an open door for illicit activity.”
This report breaks down various European Union nations’ share of accounts and tax recovery:
France / 9,437 accounts / 155 million pounds recovered
Spain / 1,835 accounts / 210 million pounds recovered
Greece / 1,991 accounts / 0 (zero) pounds recovered
USA / $1.9 billion fine levied on HSBC
The 1,991 accounts supplied to Greece tax authorities somehow disappeared, and included politicians, ministers, publishers, and other financial elites – and listed their off-shore companies.
Kostas Vaxevanis, editor at Hot Doc Magazine in Greece, published the list and he experienced arrest attempts twice for breaking privacy laws. He speaks about the experience:
“The magazine and I continue to receive attacks, and Greece continues to be what it is. People eating out of dustbins, while none of those who may have evaded or cheated taxes have gone to prison, nor has the state collected a euro.”
The USA received their portion of Herve Falciani’s records/accounts, but didn’t go after the tax evaders, opting to fine HSBC $1.9 billion instead. It became known that HSBC had violated sanctions on Iran, serviced Mexican and Columbian drug cartels, and laundered dirty money in the billions.
The report seems to suggest that Britain has been slow to process their share of Mr. Falciani’s accounts, a total of 10,922 linked to the United Kingdom. After three years since the Brits received the data, when this report was made there had been one prosecution in Britain. 150 million pounds had been “clawed-back”.
President and CEO of HSBC Bank USA Irene Dorner is shown in the video speaking to a Senate committee with words like “deeply regret and apologize…”, etc. This legal outcome is an exact replica to the crimes committed by the financial sector leading to the 2007 worldwide economic collapse – nobody goes to jail.
The reporter asks Herve Falciani, “Are you prepared to go to jail to make this point again?”
“Of course, I know I’m right. I’ll share with citizens if politicians don’t want.”
(Thank you to Channel 4 News at YouTube)