“Investment research is just one of the many powerful tools we will make available to self-directed investors to help them to invest with intelligence.” E. L. Goldberg.
With all the scandals about HSBC erupting I thought I’d do a check to see if Merrill Lynch and HSBC had any dealings with each other. Merrill Lynch of course being the bank John Key was running the Bonds and Derivatives department for before he returned to New Zealand to sell us out.
The latest scandal emanating from the rotting corpse that is HSBC is the fact that they where advising “self directed” investors as described in the article announcing the cooperation between Merrill Lynch and HSBC, how to avoid having to pay taxes.
What makes this interesting is that all this happened when John Key was still the Managing director of European bonds and Derivatives and the Global manager for the Forex trade. In the unabridged “Unauthorized” Biography which was published in July 2008 John Key did not announce his plans to return home until well into 2001. I say unabridged because a week after I wrote an open letter to one of the writers of that article about how John Key’s banking career should have made him suspect to every Kiwi, all the references to his banking career were removed from the online version.
Details Of Tax Avoidance Schemes For Wealthy HSBC Clients Revealed
A cache of secret documents has thrust HSBC, the world’s second largest bank, into the limelight for helping international clients dodge taxes. A series of articles published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is finally pushing reluctant governments to act almost eight years after the original leaks.
The scandal began when Hervé Falciani, a Swiss employee of HSBC, blew the whistle in 2007 and handed over a stack of files on the bank’s clients to French government authorities, who later shared the files with officials in Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries.
The files, which cover the period from 2005 to 2007, shed light on some 30,000 account holders with almost $120 billion in assets. They show that HSBC’s Swiss bank staff routinely doled out bundles of untraceable cash and advised clients how to circumvent domestic tax regulations.
“I think they were a tax avoidance and tax evasion service. I think that is what they were offering,” Richard Brooks, a former UK tax inspector told BBC television. “They knew full well that people come to them to dodge their tax liabilities.”
Switzerland has long been a favored banking destination for wealthy people around the world because of the country’s strict secrecy laws. In turn Swiss banks have made a lot of money from these wealthy clients. In 1999, HSBC decided to get in on the lucrative business when it bought the Republic National Bank of New York and merged it with other HSBC units to create a special Swiss division for clients around the world.
Falciani’s files show that HSBC employees in Switzerland reassured clients they would not disclose details of their accounts to tax authorities in their home countries. Some documents also showed that HSBC proactively contacted clients to discuss options that would allow its clients to avoid a new tax introduced under a treaty Switzerland signed with the European Union. And yet other documents show that HSBC maintained secret bank accounts for numerous dictators, arms dealers who sold mortar bombs for use by child soldiers in Africa as well as to traffickers in “blood diamonds” – mined by warring parties in conflict zones.
One of the clients listed was an Emmanuel Shallop. “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai,” wrote an unnamed bank official in a memo revealed in the leaked files. “The client is currently being very careful because he is under pressure from the Belgian tax authorities who are investigating his activities in the field of diamond tax evasion.” Shallop was convicted in 2010 of dealing in diamonds from Sierra Leone.