Tuesday 18 January 2022, 03:14 PM
Swiss police raids HSBC Geneva branch (Roundup, changing dateline)
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/18/2015 12:00:00 AM

Geneva: The Swiss police Wednesday searched HSBC bank's office in Geneva as part of an inquiry into alleged money-laundering, the prosecutor office here said.

In a statement, the prosecutor office said the search at the bank was led by Attorney General Olivier Jornot and prosecutor Yves Bertossa.

The statement said the investigation could extend to "people suspected of committing or participating in money laundering". Officials were said to have hauled away a large number of documents from the bank.

Franco Morra, the bank's chief executive, said it had last week shut down accounts of clients who "did not meet our high standards".

Europe's largest lender came under the attention of regulators after details emerged about how its Swiss private bank allegedly helped wealthy clients evade taxes.

The details were provided more than a week ago by a group of newspapers working in conjunction with International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based in the US. In India, the Indian Express was part of the group.

The Express published a list of more than a thousand names, which included politicians, business persons and exporters. The total number of people evading taxes in several countries was over 100,000.

HSBC’s involvement first came to light in 2008, when a former computer technician, Herve Falciani, blew the lid on the bank’s alleged practices after stealing confidential data which he then turned over to the French government. India too received information on over 600 clients which is being looked into by a special investigating team monitored by the Supreme Court.

HSBC says its operation has been overhauled since then. On Sunday, HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver, who took the helm in 2000, issued a public apology saying the bank now, had “absolutely no appetite to do business with clients who are evading their taxes.”

On Wednesday, Lord Green, the bank’s president from 2006 to 2010, stepped down from the chair of the banking lobby group, The City, in London.

And as a tangential fallout of the story, a senior journalist at the Daily Telegraph in London walked out of his job saying the paper’s coverage of the HSBC matter was a “fraud on its readers”.

The paper’s chief political commentator Peter Osborne said in a blog that the editorial policy pushed the story out of the limelight due to HSBC’s large advertising contract with the paper.

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Swiss police raids HSBC Geneva branch (Roundup, changing dateline)

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