Public officials have reacted swiftly to revelations made through Swiss Leaks, ICIJ’s latest cross-border investigation that brought together journalists from 45 countries.
Following the investigation’s release on Sunday night, officials from across the globe have made public statements condemning the behavior of the bank and have called for new laws or tax crackdowns.
Among the latest impacts and responses:
British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock.com
By Will Fitzgibbon
- UNITED KINGDOM:Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to defend his appointment of Stephen
- Green, the former head of HSBC, as trade minister. The opposition party asked an “urgent question” in parliament – prioritizing the issue for immediate response from the government.
“There are clearly questions that need to be answered about what happened at HSBC between 2005 and 2007,” says the U.K.’s financial secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke. Another minister has evoked the possibility of changing laws or giving new powers to regulators “to make sure” that tax authorities have tools to tackle the issues. A member of the U.K.’s Treasury Select Committee, John Mann, has called for senior managers at HSBC to appear before the committee “to explain their behavior.”
- UNITED STATES: The leading Democrat on the Senate’s banking committee Sherrod Browntold The Guardian he will push the IRS and the Justice Department for answers on their actions – “or lack thereof” – in responding to the files.
- AUSTRALIA: After initially refusing to disclose details, the Australian Tax Office revealed that it had received the files in 2010 and has collected $30 million as a direct result.
- BELGIUM: A judge may issue an international arrest warrant for HSBC group directors“because they are not cooperating” with ongoing inquiries related to the files, reported Reuters. HSBC has told ICIJ that “We are also cooperating with relevant authorities investigating these matters.”
- SWITZERLAND: A former foreign minister told reporters she is “angry” at the behavior of the bank because it has tarnished the country’s reputation.
- DENMARK: The government was criticized after admitting it never sought to obtain the filesfrom the French Government. “It is quite inexplicable that you chose not to gather data at the time when they were made available to other countries,” said Danish Member of Parliament Benny Engelbrecht.
- NORWAY: The tax administration has promised to ask French authorities for Norwegian data in response to reporting by ICIJ partner Aftenposten.
- INDIA: The Finance Minister has announced that authorities will examine any new names revealed by ICIJ partner Indian Express. India has received a version of the HSBC files and has launched 60 prosecutions.
- Kenya:Kenya has been ranked 58th among countries with the highest dollar deposits in Swiss banks, at Sh51.18 billion ($559.8 million).
The Swiss Leaks report, compiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, states that the figure is the total by 742 clients.
About 460 of them collectively hold 1,093 accounts opened between 1975 and 2006, the report says.
The account linked to Kenya with the highest amount of money deposited by an unnamed person has Sh3.27 billion.READ MORE