GUARDIAN 2015 - The chairman of HSBC has admitted his shame at the “horrible reputational damage” the bank has suffered following the revelations of the systematic aiding of tax avoidance at its Swiss subsidiary, but has refused to take personal responsibility for the failings.
Douglas Flint, who was finance director at the time HSBC took over the Swiss subsidiary, infuriated members of the Treasury select committee on Wednesday by blaming the failings at the Swiss unit on local managers and said that the secrecy surrounding banking in the country made it difficult for him to have a direct line of sight of what has happening at the bank.
Flint, who has been chairman of the bank since the end of 2010, said: “I believe in personal accountability and I do believe people should be held responsible for what they have direct oversight over when they have failed”.
While he said he felt “very ashamed” of events at the bank, he said he would not forfeit past bonus payments in response, telling MPs: “I don’t feel that proximate to what was happening in the private bank.”
His evidence, given over two hours, largely left unresolved the role of Lord Green, the bank’s chairman at the time. Green was appointed trade minister by David Cameron despite leaks about the activities of its Swiss subsidiary.
Green, an ordained Tory minister, has steadfastly refused to answer questions in public about the scandal – citing a “point of principle”. He has also, to the anger of some MPs, managed to avoid facing questions on his role either from the media or from the two select committees that have been examining the fallout from the scandal. There is some suggestion that Tories are eager to keep Green from attending a select committee hearing.
On Wednesday, Flint largely blamed the directors of HSBC Group private banking, Chris Meares and Clive Bannister, saying they “certainly bear fairly direct responsibility for what went on in the private bank during their stewardship”.
He added: “Most accountable, I think, are the management in Switzerland. It’s very difficult for people outside Switzerland to get any access to the detailed account-level information in Switzerland. That’s something only the management on the ground can have access to for all the privacy and secrecy reasons.
“The individuals that I think are most accountable both for the data theft and the weakness that allowed that to happen, and for the behaviour that was unacceptable in relation to our standards, were the management on the ground in Switzerland.”
In his most reflective remarks, Flint admitted he had a shared responsibility, adding: “One of the most humbling things that has happened in my career is a recognition of all the things you did not know, and you go and say: ‘What could I have known or what should I have known?’”
Anger at the stance of HSBC was not just confined to the activities of the bank a decade ago, but also its systemic culture of failing its responsibilities.
The Treasury committee chairman, Andrew Tyrie, pointed out the bank was not just facing criticism over its past Swiss subsidiary but over contemporary events, including “interest rate derivative selling, Libor manipulation, Eurobor manipulation, mis-selling mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Forex rigging, weakness in money laundering, credit default swaps … rigging precious metals” and was involved in “various class action lawsuits over the Bernie Madoff fraud”.
“It’s a terrible list,” Flint admitted.
Stuart Gulliver, HSBC’s chief executive, was also asked about his pay arrangements, but said they had not been intended to avoid tax. He conceded it looked strange that his salary while at HSBC in Hong Kong had been placed into a Panamanian account, but he insisted he had made no tax benefit as a result. He said he had made the arrangement in 1998 purely to hide his salary from HSBC staff who might have been able to see it. “I can understand how people find these kind of arrangements unusual and rather strange,” he said.
Both bankers insisted they had not discussed the activities at HSBC’s Swiss arm with anyone at the Treasury, but said they had held two meetings with HM Revenue and Customs.
Gulliver also said the bank had not used its UK newspaper advertising budget to manipulate editorial coverage, but he said some adverts due to be in the Daily Telegraph had been postponed, not cancelled, when the paper highlighted HSBC’s activities in Jersey.
Eastbourne branch of the Hong
Kong Shanghai Bank held an account for a fledgling soft
drinks company for many years without any issues. Things changed
when one of their customers staged a fight with Wealden
District Council, asking Sussex
Police to investigate what appeared to be organised malfeasance
in public office, a serious crime for which the maximum penalty
imprisonment. Sussex police did not investigate, faking an
investigation and subsequent false report to the council's full
committee, about which the police became party to the
police failings happened some years before HSBC
got involved, using anti-money laundering statute to ask
questions that appear to be similar in format and to target one
individual - the person who was making waves for Sussex
police and the planning officers and chief executives of Wealden
District Council. Is that just an unbelievable coincidence?
was the victim of what appears to be a conspiracy to know, but there was a
masonic link lurking in the background in the form of the assistant
district planning officer and his father in law, Bernard
Best, and a councillor who belonged to the Tyrian
Lodge in South Street, just around the corner from the
police station in Grove Road.
pattern of questions were first identified in a Contravention
Notice served by Wealden on their target and other organisations
with an interest in 2017. Later, Lloyds
Bank asked a similar series of questions, once again
targeting the same individual about shares that he did not own. Then
HSBC joined in with Peter
McIntyre and Laura Gaughan asking more questions with the same
target in the mix. The branch concerned is/was at: 94 Terminus
Eastbourne, BN21 3ND.
to this Barclays
bank has closed an account in what looks to be part of the
same state sanctioned agenda, in a lesser form. But nevertheless
an account was closed despite protestations as to loss. It
remains to be seen if there is any other connection or common
denominator. At the moment it all points one way.
objective appears to be to cause a lot of work for the
individual and any concern that he worked for, ultimately to
force the closure of accounts - and so prevent their target from
making money or having any chance of being successful. You might
care to agree that banks are supposed to be supportive of
entrepreneurs, not do their best to put them out of business.
first Laura Gaughan tried to interrogate the director of this
company over the telephone.
Before this conversation (that was recorded as evidence) there was a recorded
delivery letter saying to phone to make an appointment to visit
the branch. That was misleading
to say the least. Laura did not want an appointment to talk about
things at the local branch,
she only wanted to fire a series of questions at the director that were
designed to get the director to incriminate herself, without
giving any indication as to what the subject matter was so as to
allow the director to refer to the files for accuracy. Talk
about human rights violations. Has Laura not heard of a person's
miranda rights. Or, in this country, the right to remain silent
as per Article 6. But more
importantly, the right to know what is being leveled at her,
before saying anything that may be misconstrued.
the company director realised it was a stitch up, she asked for
the questions in writing. Sure enough, there came a long list of
questions aimed at Mr Nelson
Kruschandl, even mentioning him by
name. The pattern is, as we say, remarkably similar in format, qualifying
as institutionalised discrimination when coupled to the
behaviour of Barclays and Lloyds banks - and of course, Wealden
District Council under the leadership of Charles Lant, now
account expenditures were small purchases that any business
would make and others essential to the cause, in this case
supporting a charity with free administration services.
soft drinks company wrote back to Laura
Gaughan asking for clarification of issues, also providing
copy of Wealden's contravention notice and other planning related
documents that proved the the district council had lied to the
Secretary of State in 1987
Ms Gaughan failed to respond to the request for information and
ignoring the letter from the soft drinks company, Peter
McIntyre gave notice that the account would be closed.
could not respond to the questions being asked, or admit to
conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, or worse.
director of the soft drinks company attended the Eastbourne
branch to ask why the company's correspondence had been ignored,
when the account manager, Tim
Austin, tried to explain that all customers were being asked
similar questions. Mr Austin made it plain that he was not privy
to the correspondence, hence could not comment on the letter of complaint.
The complainant makes no bones about Mr Austin, who had been
helpful in the operation of this account over the years. His
reply though was near identical to Ms Gaughan's when she was
asked why the HSBC were asking a similar set of questions to
that Wealden and Lloyds bank had been asking. Ms Gaughan also said
all customers were being asked the same questions. But that
could not possibly be true. Indeed, the level of research and
coordination is suggestive of a dedicated witch
hunt, all aimed at destroying the victim.
the other hand, if all customers are being asked the same
questions with a specific target, then are our banks now turning
into a kind of Gestapo service for Her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth?
JULY 2012 - Britain's biggest bank allowed rogue states and drugs cartels to launder billions of pounds through its branches.
HSBC stands accused of fostering such a ‘polluted’ culture it became a conduit for criminal enterprises.
A top executive at the bank sensationally quit yesterday in front of a US Senate hearing that exposed the scale of the scandal.
Following the Barclays rate-fixing revelations, it deals another blow to the City of London’s reputation.
HSBC – one of the few UK banks to survive the financial crisis with its reputation intact – now faces up to £640million in penalties. A devastating 335-page Senate report accused HSBC of ignoring warnings and breaching safeguards that should have stopped the laundering of money from Mexico, Iran and Syria.
The bank failed to monitor a staggering £38trillion of money moving across borders from places that could have posed a risk, including the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. The failures stretched to dealings with Saudi Arabian bank Al Rajhi, which was linked to the financing of terrorism following 9/11.
HSBC’s American arm, HBUS, initially severed all ties with Al Rajhi. But it later agreed to supply the Saudi bank with US banknotes after it threatened to pull all of its business with HSBC worldwide.
According to the report, HBUS also accepted £9.6billion in cash over two years from subsidiaries without checking where the money came from.
In one instance, Mexican and US authorities warned HSBC that £4.5billion sent to the US from its Mexican subsidiary ‘could reach that volume only if they included illegal drug proceeds’.
Concerns over the bank’s links to Mexican drug dealers included £1.3billion stashed in accounts in the Cayman Islands. One HSBC compliance officer admitted the accounts were misused by ‘organised crime’.
London-based banker David Bagley, head of HSBC’s compliance division, which is meant to prevent breaches of the law, quit in front of the Senate committee. He had been with the bank for 20 years.
The affair is also an embarrassment for David Cameron, because his trade envoy Stephen Green chaired HSBC during the period covered by the allegations.
John Mann, a Labour MP on the influential Treasury committee, last night demanded that Lord Green resign or be sacked. ‘Someone whose bank has been assisting murdering drug cartels and corrupt regimes across the world should not be in charge of a government portfolio,’ he said.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister backed the peer – officially known as Baron Green of Hurstpierpoint – saying he was doing an excellent job and would play an important role during the Olympics. No 10 sources said Mr Cameron has not questioned Lord Green about his role in the scandal.
Labour MP Pat McFadden, a member of the Treasury select committee, stopped short of calling for Lord Green to resign over the affair, but said the trade minister should be quizzed over what he knew.
‘I don’t know the timeline of this, but if something was going on at the time anyone was chairman of the bank they should be expected to be asked questions about this,’ he said.
Evidence in the Senate report shows that HSBC staff sought to get round sanctions that prevent American firms doing business with Iran.
It said: ‘From 2001 to 2007, HSBC affiliates sent almost 25,000 transactions involving Iran worth over $19billion (£12billion) through HBUS and other US accounts, while concealing any link with Iran in 85 per cent of the transactions.’
The bank’s compliance division ‘allowed the HSBC affiliates to continue to engage in these practices, which even some within the bank viewed as deceptive, for more than five years without disclosing the extent of the activity to HBUS’.
Many of HSBC’s breaches relate to its use of so-called bearer share accounts, in which ownership of shares and the income they incur can be passed from person to person in secrecy.
Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is leading the investigation, said HSBC had been ‘pervasively
polluted for some time’. He added: ‘Banks that ignore money laundering rules are a big problem for our country.
‘In an age of international terrorism, drug violence in our streets and on our borders, and organised crime, stopping illicit money flows that support those atrocities is a national security imperative.’
In a statement, HSBC said: ‘We will apologise, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong.’
The bank says it has sharpened up its controls and doubled spending on compliance to £255million.
It also said it was closing 20,000 accounts in the Cayman Islands as a result of the investigation.
Saudi terror links
The Senate probe also examined banking HSBC did in Saudi Arabia with Al Rajhi Bank, which the report said has links to financing
Evidence of those links emerged after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the Senate report said, citing U.S. government reports, criminal and civil legal proceedings and media reports.
In 2004, Al Rajhi sued the Wall Street
Journal, which had published an article about U.S. and Saudi authorities monitoring accounts. The article referenced Al Rajhi.
Al Rajhi said in response to a WSJ story that it 'unequivocally condemns terrorism'. Al Rajhi and the paper settled in 2004.
The paper did not pay damages and stated that it 'did not intend to imply an allegation that (Al Rajhi) supported terrorist activity, or had engaged in the financing of terrorism', the Senate report said.
In 2005, HSBC told its affiliates to no longer do business with the bank, the report said. Four months later, HSBC officials reversed course, allowing affiliates to decide whether to continue to do business with Al Rajhi.
A Middle Eastern unit of HSBC continued doing business with the bank, the report said. HSBC ultimately stopped helping the bank handle certain types of transactions, and HSBC compliance officials rebuffed other HSBC bankers seeking to maintain ties to the bank.
Then in late 2006, Al Rajhi threatened to yank all of its business with HSBC unless it regained access to using HSBC's bulk-cash transaction business, the Senate report said.
HSBC agreed to continue to provide the bank bulk shipments of U.S. dollars until 2010 when HSBC exited entirely the bulk-cash business.
Officials at Al Rajhi could not immediately be reached for comment.
Dealings with Iran
Some of the money that moved through HSBC was tied to Iran, the report said, which would violate U.S. prohibitions on transactions tied to it and other sanctioned countries.
To conceal the transactions, HSBC affiliates used a method called 'stripping,' where references to Iran are deleted from records. HSBC affiliates also characterized the transactions as transfers between banks without disclosing the tie to Iran in what the Senate report called a 'cover payment.'
HSBC 'failed to take decisive action to confront these affiliates and put an end to the conduct,' the report said.
Between 2001 and 2007, more than 28,000 transactions were identified by an outside auditor for HSBC that potentially could have run afoul of laws that prohibit transactions with sanctioned countries.
Of those, 25,000 involved Iran. A smaller number required additional analysis to determine if violations of U.S. regulations had occurred, the report said.
At the heart of HSBC's failings was the fact that it served as a hub for smaller financial firms needing access to the global banking system, the report said.
In one example detailed in the Senate investigation, HSBC continued to do business with one client that admitted to
U.S. law enforcement that it had failed to maintain an effective anti-money laundering system.
The client, Sigue Corp, was a money processor in California, the report said. In 2008, the company agreed to a so-called deferred prosecution with the U.S. Justice Department and other U.S. agencies where it admitted to allowing
dollars of suspect transactions between 2003 and 2005.
Undercover U.S. officers, in a sting, even moved money through the company, explicitly telling Sigue agents they were moving illegal drug proceeds, the report said.
By By Rob Davies and Tim Shipman
civil servants are only one step removed from Nazi Gestapo
officers, but think exactly like the brown shirts that led to World
War Two. The planning system is particularly prone to
breeding workers who develop a power complex and seem to take
delight in what the ordinary man in the street would term
Kingdom has laws that oppose the concept of a level playing
field, allowing the police, councils and banks to target
individuals and to hound them is such a manner as to prevent
them from succeeding in the commercial world. For example, their
names are flagged up on banking computers,
whereupon the customer is given short shrift and shown the door.
Hence, the victim cannot compete in the commercial world, where
a bank account is a necessity to make purchases online and money
that everyone should have the right to make a living on equal
terms, this agenda appears to have all the hallmarks of some
kind of secret
society Fourth Reich in the making.
the allegations are true, this is discrimination plain and
simple. The kind of discrimination that led to the extermination
of millions of Polish and Jewish people in the Second
World War, after Adolf
Hitler took his empire building and supposed ethnic
cleansing programmes to new industrial heights with the Concentration
Camps that are his legacy.
Gestapo were enlisted to round up undesirables and herd them
into the death camps to do forced labour until they either died
of malnutrition or were put into the gas chambers to be
exterminated using Zyklon
B or even just the exhaust fumes from motor
wonder if this is a new era of Nazism in a new form. Clearly, if
this kind of targeting of individuals is taking place by way of
an undercurrent of activities by the state aimed at
disadvantaging certain people, Article
14 is being violated along with many other Human
Rights conventions adopted by the United
Nations by way of the Universal
await hearing from the HSBC, Lloyds or Barclays and/or any of
their employees (in confidence) should any member of their staff
wish to Blow
the Whistle or otherwise make comment on the above. We are
also keen to hear from any council or police officer as to this
WE WERE FIGHTING AGAINST FROM 1939 TO 1945
OFFICERS FROM 1983 TO 2018
Trevor - Alcock
Charmain - Ditto - Arnold
Chris (Christine) - Barakchizadeh
Lesley - Paul Barker - Bending
Julian - Boakes Beverley - Bradshaw
Clifford - Brigginshaw
Marina - Brown
Ashley - Coffey
Patrick - Douglas
Dowsett Timothy - Flemming
Mike - Forder Ralph - Garrett
Martyn - Goodwin Daniel
- Henham J - Holness
Thomas - Johnson
Geoff - Kavanagh Geoff - Kay Ian - Kay
- Barbara Kingsford - Lant Charles - Mercer
Mileman Niall - Moon
Craig - Moss Douglas, J. - Nuttall
Christine - Pettigrew Rex - Phillips
David - Scarpa
Victorio - Scott
Kevin Stewart -
Michael. - Whibley David - White,
George - Williams
Kelvin - Wilson Kenneth - White
SS and SA were the special forces used for political purposes.
It will not be long before councils in Britain are run by civil
servants who think like Gestapo officers. They might as well cut
out the pretence and wear brown shirts and long black boots.
Heil Hitler! Banks are following suit, targeting individuals and
companies where there is nothing sinister, but simply because
they are out to get a particular person.
WARS by Jameson Hunter © 2014