The HSBC scandal is just now unfolding as Britain’s largest institutional bank, HSBC, is being accused of a “drugs and gun-running” scandal. HSBC is accused of opening offshore accounts in New Jersey for high-profile British criminals including drug dealer Daniel Bayes and arms merchant Michael Lee. These Jersey-based HSBC bank accounts are purportedly being used for money laundering and British tax evasion.
HSBC started as a small local bank in Hong Kong in 1865. Now HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC stock shares are listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, and Bermuda stock exchanges.
The HM (Her Majesty’s) Revenue and Customs began investigation into the HSBC scandal earlier this week after receiving information from a whistle-blower who secretly provided a list of HSBC customers, addresses, and account balances to the HMRC. This list identified 4,388 HSBC customers holding £699 million in offshore Jersey accounts, which translates to roughly $1.1 billion US dollars at today’s currency exchange rates. According to the Daily Mail, HSBC “was accused by the US government of fostering such a ‘polluted’ culture it became a conduit for criminal enterprises and faces $1.5 billion in fines.” This includes Mexican drug money laundering and other schemes.
Over at The Independent, HMRC has issued a press release on the HSBC scandal:
“We can confirm we have received the data and we are studying it. We receive information from a very wide range of sources which we use to ensure the tax rules are being respected. Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes and over-claiming benefits is a top priority for us, and we value the information we receive from the public and business community.”
HSBC bank has responded to the HSBC scandal by saying:
“We are investigating the reports of an alleged loss of certain client data in Jersey as a matter of urgency. We have not been notified of any investigation in relation to this matter by HMRC or any other authority but, should we receive notification, we will co-operate fully with the authorities. HSBC remains fully committed to adoption of the highest global standards including the procedures for the acceptance of clients.”
This new HSBC scandal is likely to ensure further crackdown on corrupt practices in the banking industry. What do you think about the HSBC scandal?