HSBC's Biggest Allies: Obama & Loretta Lynch

February 19, 2015

Swiss authorities, led by Attorney General Olivier Jornot and prosecutor Yves Bertossa, raided the Geneva offices of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA Wednesday morning, as part of their criminal probe into "aggravated money laundering," by the bank and by "persons unknown," according to the London Guardian and Telegraph.

"We are looking for anything and everything we can find, documents and files," prosecutors said, noting that the action came in response to recent Swiss Leaks revelations on the bank's illegal activities, facilitating tax evasion by wealthy clients, among other things.

News of the raid spread across the globe, with London's Evening Standard noting that "the fact that the raid is over allegations of money laundering will send shivers through Europe's largest bank."

Those shivers are indeed being felt in London, where Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs agency (HMRC) is scrambling to defend itself against charges that it failed to act on evidence of HSBC's illegal activities.

HSBC's illicit reputation is well known, as is the protection from criminal prosecution the bank has enjoyed for decades from the top levels of the U.S. and UK governments. However as the utter bankruptcy of the transatlantic financial system, including the EU itself, becomes more and more difficult to deny, the days of implicit political and financial bailouts banks like HSBC have enjoyed since their inception, may be numbered. And the dismissal of Obama's Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch is a good place to start.

In the U.S. there is now speculation as to whether the Swiss raid and revelations of the extent of HSBC's illegal behavior might lead to a reopening of the case against HSBC for moving billions of dollars in Mexican drug cartel money through the U.S. financial system. In 2012, Obama's Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch, and the Department of Justice gave HSBC a slap on the wrist for its crimes, in the form of a $1.9 billion fine, and a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

In her capacity as Attorney of the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch blatantly protected HSBC from serious prosecution in 2012, after the bank admitted to facilitating money-laundering by Mexican drug cartels, and helping clients evade U.S. taxes and sanctions.

In a WND.com interview with the HSBC whistleblower John Cruz, who had exposed HSBC's dirty operations, in which Cruz states that Lynch never even contacted him for his information, Cruz said,

"Nobody from the U.S. attorney's office in New York ever contacted me, despite numerous attempts that I made to get the documentation I had of HSBC illegal money-laundering to federal prosecutors."

Lynch's stonewall is even more extreme, given the information Cruz had already provided to Federal agencies. Two years before, in 2010, Cruz's attorney handed over documentation to a supervisor of the DHS's Homeland Security Investigators, but in early 2012 DHS even denied that it had met with Cruz's attorney. Not surprisingly, nothing came of the DHS investigation. In 2012, Cruz got the same runaround from the Internal Revenue Service.

Lynch's DOJ knew of other HSBC criminal activity going back to 2007. As The New York Times gingerly put it earlier this month:

"the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said that secret documents revealed that [Swiss HSBC] bank employees had reassured clients that HSBC would not disclose details of their accounts to tax authorities in their home countries and discussed options to avoid paying taxes on those assets."

The documents had been procured by an HSBC whistleblower in 2007. They were shared with authorities in at least France, Spain, Britain, and the United States.

Covering the same record, Matt Taibi, in the Feb. 9 Rolling Stone, states:

"What HSBC's Swiss unit was doing went far beyond passive bank secrecy. The bank was actively helping its wealthiest clients avoid paying taxes in their home countries, sometimes using highly creative methods—a sort of criminal advice service, if you will."

As EIR noted in its 2012 coverage of the HSBC money-laundering, EIR's Dope, Inc. first reported in 1978, that HSBC, then called the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, functioned as the central bank for the opium and heroin trade of the British Empire and its East India Company, dating back to 1865, when the HongShang was founded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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Britain's Revenue Office Under Attack for Letting HSBC Off the Hook

Wednesday's raid on the Geneva offices of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA, is shaking up the works in London, amidst the "row" caused by allegations that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the equivalent of the U.S.'s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has failed to investigate charges of HSBC's illegal activities.

As the BBC put it, "the allegations have caused a political storm in the UK over who knew what and when." Indeed.

The HMRC has been in possession of evidence of HSBC's abetting of massive tax evasion schemes since 2010, yet out of 1,100 names of holders of illegal accounts, only one person has been prosecuted. When HMRC was asked to vet HSBC executive chairman Stephen Green, over his suitability to join the House of Lords as a government minister in 2010, it failed to inform Downing Street that it possessed evidence implicating HSBC in tax evasion and other potential criminal offenses, the Guardian reported Feb. 10.

A very defensive Lin Homer, head of HMRC, who along with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is getting pummeled by the Labour Party in Parliament, blames her agency's lack of action on the French, claiming that strict treaty arrangements between the two countries prevented HMRC from using the HSBC files the French provided, to pursue criminal prosecutions for money laundering in the courts, or even from sharing intelligence with other law-enforcement agencies.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin disputes this, the Guardian reports. In an interview with Le Monde published Feb. 13, he said, "I don't understand the comments made by the British authorities." The HSBC data was transmitted to HMRC in 2010 "in the framework of bilateral conventions that bind us. Nothing has been said to them since then." While the conventions restrict the use of the information to tax purposes, he added, if the British tax office "wants to bring court cases, it is entitled to do so."

Moreover, HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani has revealed that both he and French authorities were always open to collaborating with other national tax agencies, but that the British never approached them for help, the Guardian reported Feb. 10.

Adding to the uproar, Peter Oborne, the Telegraph's respected chief political commentator, has resigned from that daily over its "soft" coverage of the HSBC scandal in order to preserve its advertising account with that bank. In a scathing Feb. 17 letter explaining his action, Oborne recounts that after HSBC suspended its advertising with the Telegraph over the latter's publication of a 2012 investigation into HSBC accounts in Jersey, reporters were ordered not to publish any stories critical of HSBC, and to destroy reports and documents related to the investigation.

Oborne concludes: "Would her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have been much more energetic in its own recent investigations into wide-scale tax avoidance, had the Telegraph continued to hold HSBC to account after its 2012 investigation?"


Britain's Revenue Office Under Attack for Letting HSBC Off the Hook

Wednesday's raid on the Geneva offices of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA, is shaking up the works in London, amidst the "row" caused by allegations that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the equivalent of the U.S.'s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), has failed to investigate charges of HSBC's illegal activities.

As the BBC put it, "the allegations have caused a political storm in the UK over who knew what and when." Indeed.

The HMRC has been in possession of evidence of HSBC's abetting of massive tax evasion schemes since 2010, yet out of 1,100 names of holders of illegal accounts, only one person has been prosecuted. When HMRC was asked to vet HSBC executive chairman Stephen Green, over his suitability to join the House of Lords as a government minister in 2010, it failed to inform Downing Street that it possessed evidence implicating HSBC in tax evasion and other potential criminal offenses, the Guardian reported Feb. 10.

A very defensive Lin Homer, head of HMRC, who along with Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is getting pummeled by the Labour Party in Parliament, blames her agency's lack of action on the French, claiming that strict treaty arrangements between the two countries prevented HMRC from using the HSBC files the French provided, to pursue criminal prosecutions for money laundering in the courts, or even from sharing intelligence with other law-enforcement agencies.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin disputes this, the Guardian reports. In an interview with Le Monde published Feb. 13, he said, "I don't understand the comments made by the British authorities." The HSBC data was transmitted to HMRC in 2010 "in the framework of bilateral conventions that bind us. Nothing has been said to them since then." While the conventions restrict the use of the information to tax purposes, he added, if the British tax office "wants to bring court cases, it is entitled to do so."

Moreover, HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani has revealed that both he and French authorities were always open to collaborating with other national tax agencies, but that the British never approached them for help, the Guardian reported Feb. 10.

Adding to the uproar, Peter Oborne, the Telegraph's respected chief political commentator, has resigned from that daily over its "soft" coverage of the HSBC scandal in order to preserve its advertising account with that bank. In a scathing Feb. 17 letter explaining his action, Oborne recounts that after HSBC suspended its advertising with the Telegraph over the latter's publication of a 2012 investigation into HSBC accounts in Jersey, reporters were ordered not to publish any stories critical of HSBC, and to destroy reports and documents related to the investigation.

Oborne concludes: "Would her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have been much more energetic in its own recent investigations into wide-scale tax avoidance, had the Telegraph continued to hold HSBC to account after its 2012 investigation?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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