Bill and Hillary Clinton's charitable foundation reportedly received about $81 million from seven donors via a Swiss bank allegedly used by the super rich as a tax dodge.
Among the Clinton Foundation donations through HSBC clients reportedly included thousands from a convicted sex offender.
All this came to light after a whistleblowing former HSBC employee at the Swiss branch leaked thousands of confidential documents about the bank's account holders and transactions in what has become known as SwissLeaks.
The British government has launched an investigation into the allegations against the London-based bank, which has already been hauled into court in France and Belgium.
"The documents show that HSBC opened Swiss accounts for international criminals, businessmen, politicians and celebrities, according to the [International Consortium of Investigative Journalists]. The revelations renewed calls for a crackdown on sophisticated tax avoidance by the wealthy and multinational companies. Tax avoidance is legal, but tax evasion is not," Yahoo News! reported.
In a money transfer from an HSBC account to the Clinton Foundation, British billionaire Richard Caring allegedly "paid out $1 million to get [Bill] Clinton to a costume party in Russia," London's Daily Mail claimed.
"Another Clinton Foundation donor who had a HSBC account in the tax haven is Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender who once flew the former president on his private jet for charity events in Africa," the Guardian reported.
An HSBC executive says its Swiss branch has now implemented strong compliance controls.
If she runs for president, Hillary Clinton apparently intends to use income inequality as a pillar of her effort to win the White House, but there could be a catch given her ties to one-percenters.
"Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over growing economic inequality in the US and is expected to make the issue a cornerstone of her widely anticipated presidential campaign in 2016. However, political observers are increasingly asking whether the former secretary of state's focus on wealth inequality sits uncomfortably with the close relationships she and her husband have nurtured with some of the world's richest individuals," the Guardian added.
The ex-Secretary of State and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have amassed a fortune in the range of $100 million to $200 million, mainly from corporate speechmaking. During her recent, ill-fated book tour, Hillary Clinton nonetheless claimed that the couple was "dead broke" when they left the White House and that currently they aren't "truly well off."
In addition to its highly publicized charitable endeavors, the Clinton Foundation also appears to provide a soft landing for Clinton political operatives in between elections. A New York Times account in 2013 outlined management and financial issues at the foundation and also suggested that there may be conflicts of interest and influence peddling, given the organization's connection to many wealthy individual and corporate donors.
In a statement in response to the HSBC revelations, a Clinton Foundation executive asserted that "the Clinton Foundation has strong donor integrity and transparency practices that go well beyond what is required of US charities, including the full disclosure of all of our donors. The contributions of these donors are helping improve the lives of millions of people across the world."
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