HSBC Swiss unit says has made changes to prevent tax evasion

9th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

HSBC's Swiss banking arm, which according to leaked documents helped wealthy customers avoid millions in taxes in the past, insisted Monday it has since undergone a "radical transformation".

"HSBC's Swiss Private Bank began a radical transformation in 2008 to prevent its services from being used to evade taxes or launder money," Franco Morra, the head of HSBC's Swiss unit, said in an email statement sent to AFP.

"New senior management have comprehensively overhauled the business, including closing the accounts of clients who did not meet our high standards and ensuring we have strong compliance controls in place," he said.

His comments came after a cache of leaked secret bank files from 2005 to 2007 showed that British banking giant HSBC provided accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen, politicians and celebrities.

The files list a range of former and current politicians from Britain, Russia, India and a range of African countries, as well as Saudi, Bahraini, Jordanian and Moroccan royalty, and the late Australian press magnate Kerry Packer.

"We have no appetite for business with clients or potential clients who do not meet our financial crime compliance standards," Morra said.

"These disclosures about historical business practices are a reminder that the old business model of Swiss private banking is no longer acceptable."

© 2015 AFP

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