Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
When are we going to lock up the banksters?
Thanks to one of the largest leaks in the history of the banking industry, we now know that big bank HSBC helped hundreds of thousands of wealthy customers from across the globe avoid paying their taxes.
Back in 2007, Herve Falciani, who at the time was a HSBC computer specialist working in that bank's Geneva office, leaked troves and troves of data on HSBC's wealthiest customers and the bank's tax evasion practices.
Now, we are getting are first glimpses into what that data reveals.
The BBC is reporting that it has seen records of at least 106,000 HSBC clients in 203 countries, all of whom were actively dodging taxes in their respective countries by hiding their money in HSBC's Swiss bank.
In total, HSBC's Swiss accounts held some $118 billion.
Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting that, "The files reveal how HSBC's Swiss private bank colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared 'black' accounts from domestic tax authorities across the world and provided services to international criminals and other high-risk individuals."
The files show how HSBC deliberately advised some of its clients on how to skirt paying taxes and avoid tax authorities.
According to the Guardian's analysis of the leaked data, around 2,900 of HSBC's Swiss clients have connections to the US.
Those clients include famous sports stars, film directors, hedge fund managers, retail giants and prominent political donors.
The IRS reportedly received the leaked data back in 2010, and is in the process of reviewing it, and prosecuting those involved.
Meanwhile, it's unclear whether the Department of Justice will prosecute HSBC over its role in facilitating all of the tax dodging.
But, if recent history suggests anything, I wouldn't hold your breath.
That's because, like every other big bank, HSBC has been repeatedly let off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist.
You may remember that HSBC found itself in trouble in 2012.