HSBC have been avoiding tax, eh?
While Team Bitterwallet sets up helplines for all of you who are emotionally unprepared for this betrayal, we'll give you the low-down.
A huge cache of files have been leaked which show that HSBC helped their clients to sidestep taxes and hid millions of dollars. These files cover the period from 2005 to 2007, concerning 30,000 accounts and concealing around £78 billion.
At the time, HSBC was led by Lord Green, who was a trade minister and just so happens to sit in the House of Lords.
The shadow financial secretary to the treasury Cathy Jamieson said: "HMRC were made fully aware of these practices back in 2010. There are serious questions for the Chancellor to answer about why just one person out of over a thousand have been prosecuted in five years. And why the Government’s Swiss tax deal has been such an embarrassing flop, raising a fraction of the amounts initially boasted of by ministers. Tax avoidance and evasion harms every taxpayer in Britain, and undermines public services like the NHS."
It is HSBC’s Swiss banking arm that indulged in this behaviour, helping rich people to not pay tax. Obtained through the collaboration of a number of media outlets, the reports show that HSBC’s Swiss private bank regularly allow their clients to withdraw bricks of cash while allowing wealthy people to avoid taxes all over European and were in cahoots with some conceal undeclared “black” accounts from their domestic tax authorities.
They also gave accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen and a load of other high-risk people.
This is the biggest banking leak in history and will see even more pressure being put on the banks who are already fantastically unpopular with everyone after a serious of scandals.
HSBC have said: "We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures." There'll be a special Panorama on the BBC about the whole thing tonight, with talk of blood-diamond criminals and the like.