HSBC, the world’s 2nd largest bank is fighting an international firestorm over revelations that its Swiss private bank helped clients conceal undeclared accounts and provided services to criminals and corrupt businessmen.
Investigators allege that $140 billion dollars passed through accounts held with HSBC in Geneva by over 100,000 clients and 20,000 offshore companies between November 2006 and March 2007. HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) continued to offer services to clients who had been unfavourably named by the United Nations, in court documents and in the media as connected to arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery.
HSBC served those close to discredited regimes such as that of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian president Ben Ali and current Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad. The files reflect a spectrum of royalty, from King Mohammed VI of Morocco to the Crown prince of Bahrain, Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to dozens of members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family
The leaked account records show some clients making trips to Geneva to withdraw large wads of cash, sometimes in used notes. The files also document huge sums of money controlled by dealers in diamonds who are known to have operated in war zones and sold gemstones to finance insurgencies that caused untold deaths.
The data also revealed the existence of 2 Eritrean accounts. One with a deposit of a whopping $450 million dollars which only the Eritrean regime is capable of amassing. It wasn’t clear whether the beneficiary was the Eritrean tyrant isaias afewerki but it was by far the single largest deposit of all the HSBC leaked accounts. There was also another account with $90 million deposited as well as over 20 accounts with deposits of under $1 million dollars.
Accounts of clients from other countries in the horn of Africa