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