Leaked files reveal new bankster scam

When are we going to lock up the banksters?

Thanks to one of the largest leaks in the history of the banking industry, we now know that big bank HSBC helped hundreds of thousands of wealthy customers from across the globe avoid paying their taxes. Back in 2007, Herve Falciani, who at the time was a HSBC computer specialist working in that bank’s Geneva office, leaked troves and troves of data on HSBC’s wealthiest customers and the bank’s tax evasion practices.

Now, we are getting are first glimpses into what that data reveals. The BBC is reporting that it has seen records of at least 106,000 HSBC clients in 203 countries, all of whom were actively dodging taxes in their respective countries by hiding their money in HSBC’s Swiss bank. In total, HSBC’s Swiss accounts held some $118 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, The Guardian is reporting that, “The files reveal how HSBC’s Swiss private bank colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from domestic tax authorities across the world and provided services to international criminals and other high-risk individuals.” The files show how HSBC deliberately advised some of its clients on how to skirt paying taxes and avoid tax authorities.

According to the Guardian’s analysis of the leaked data, around 2,900 of HSBC’s Swiss clients have connections to the US. Those clients include famous sports stars, film directors, hedge fund managers, retail giants and prominent political donors.

The IRS reportedly received the leaked data back in 2010, and is in the process of reviewing it, and prosecuting those involved. Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether the Department of Justice will prosecute HSBC over its role in facilitating all of the tax dodging. But, if recent history suggests anything, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

That’s because, like every other big bank, HSBC has been repeatedly let off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist.

You may remember that HSBC found itself in trouble in 2012. In December of 2012, the Department of Justice and U.S. Treasury officials announced that the giant Swiss bank had laundered money for some of the most notorious international drug cartels in the world, while also illegally conducting transactions on behalf of customers in Iran, Libya, Cuba, Sudan and Burma.

That’s right, the world’s largest bank and second largest bank in the U.S. allegedly laundered money for terrorists and drug kingpins.

Between 2006 and 2009, according to federal officials, HSBC failed to monitor a staggering $670 billion in wire transfers and an additional $9.4 billion in cash transactions from its operations in Mexico. As a result, according to officials, at least $881 million in drug trafficking money, including money from the Sinaloa Cartel of Mexico and the Norte del Valle Cartel of Colombia, was laundered through the big bank.

The Department of Justice also said that HSBC helped process $660 million in illegal transactions from Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Libya and Burma by intentionally hiding theidentities of those countries.

Now, if you or I had done this, we'd be in prison, maybe even Guantanamo. Handling money for drug cartels and terrorists is pretty bad, right? You would think that HSBC would have faced severe punishment for its actions right?


When it comes to criminal laws, banksters have a different standard than normal human beings. They are, as they love to call themselves, "the masters of the universe." They're immune from jail.

All HSBC had to do was sign a “deferred prosecution agreement,” or DPA, with the Department of Justice, which said that no criminal charges will be brought against the bank – or any of its banksters – provided that it meets certain conditions, including paying a $1.9 billion dollar fine.

Despite laundering hundreds of billions of dollars illegally, helping out some of the world’s most notorious killers and drug cartels, allegedly laundering for terrorist groups and moving money for customers in nations that the U.S. has no diplomatic ties with, HSBC got off with a slap on the wrist, and a very light slap at that.

Again, if you or I had laundered money for drug cartels or terrorists, we’d be thrown in jail and the key would be thrown away.

So, if the Department of Justice didn’t throw the book at HSBC over laundering money for drug cartels and alleged terrorists, the chances are that when it comes to aiding tax evasion, the punishment isn’t going to be too stiff, either.

Speaking about the deal the DOJ cut with HSBC in 2012, Senator Elizabeth Warren said that, “HSBC paid a fine, but no individual went to trial, no individual was banned from banking and there was no hearing to consider shutting down HSBC’s activities in the US. How many billions of dollars do you have to launder for drug lords and how many sanctions do you have to violate before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?”

It’s time to listen to Senator Warren and stop letting banksters off the hook, because the “slap on the wrist” system we currently have clearly isn't deterring banks from breaking the law just to make a buck.

Masters of the universe? Hah! These guys are just common criminals, and it's time we started treating them as such.


Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 18 weeks ago

Banking needs to be seriously reviewed by those competent

Without bias and totally independent

Where you might find such individuals is not imediately clear to me

In any event -

Fractional reserve banking is deception at best and theft at worst

It needs to be stopped

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 18 weeks ago

Fractional reserve banking

Example -

The money you deposit in a bank is lent out to any other by a factor of 9 or 10

Without consent!?!?!

This is one of the main reasons why you can not withdraw your money on demand when the shit hits the fan

The bank has made commitments with your money without permission

I have experienced this more than once in my life

Like... visit mutiple ATMs... nothing!!!

Go to bank and the door is closed

My money is in there

Do you own your own money when it's in a bank???

Willie W's picture
Willie W 9 years 18 weeks ago

Tax evasion activities going back to 2007? IRS has been looking at it since 2010? Most of these crooks are going to die of old age before the authorities get around to catching up with them. Not a problem. The way this country operates, they'll probably end up going after their kids who might not be so rich and powerful. Easier pickings.

SteveS's picture
SteveS 9 years 18 weeks ago

Here's one hilarious way to fight the banksters: http://www.citizenvox.org/2015/02/10/activist-band-delivers-100000-signatures-forced-arbitration-citigroup-headquarters/

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 9 years 18 weeks ago


Tax avoidance is not a crime far as I know

The solution to all this tax complexity is simple

Tax expenditure only

Exmpt the disabled, pensioners and like kind

So easy it's incredible

douglas m 9 years 18 weeks ago

So what crime was commited when the 1.9 billion disappeared?

And where is it now!!??!!

So only the intelligent know how not to pay taxes?

The one with the most criminal accountant wins!

Oh ya, and HSBC bank.

oneworldatpeace's picture
oneworldatpeace 9 years 18 weeks ago

IT GETS WORSE! The Basel Bank Consortium (the INTERNATION BOGEY BANKSTERS!) have made it policy that when we run out of FDIC Deposits during the next


That's what they did in Sardinia (?) back in 08 and now with their "Policy Correction" it will be ENFORCED HERE!

WELCOME TO FEUDAL AMERICA LAND OF THE RICH, and not anybody else of concern.

wwws56a's picture
wwws56a 9 years 18 weeks ago

This is so sad for us, we are so used to this abuse from corporations and banks, not even this "rallies the troops" to get off our asses and do something.

I guess we deserve what we get. Think Germany in the 30's, Hitler and the brown shirts were known about and everyone either didn't care or looked away. Well guess what we're doing now ?

Let's not waste our time getting angry if we'll do nothing to change what's happening.

Write, call, let our politicians know we'll hold them accountable if they ignore us.

Elizabeth Warren is now our chance to make change for the better, she is making so many waves and worrying just the type of folks we're looking to hold responsible.

wwws56a's picture
wwws56a 9 years 18 weeks ago

Did you know that penalties that banks and corporations pay is, TAX DEDUCTIBLE in the U.S. ?

Funny (really very sad), they steal from us then we pay them for doing it.

RFord's picture
RFord 9 years 18 weeks ago

The deal with banks is kind of like the deal with guns. You know, "guns don't kill people, people kill people ". Well people with guns do kill people. Well, Banks don't break the law, people who work in the banks break the law. A bank is just a building that doesn't do anything just like a gun doesn't do anything until people get involved. Fineing a bank 10 million dollars is like a cop fineing someone for speeding $1. That's not much of a deterant. When banks are fined, it's considered just a cost of doing business. If the profit from the crime outweighs the cost of the fine the bankers will keep doing the crime. When bankers are imprisoned for their crimes and barred from working in the banking industry ever again, other bankers will take notice and will obey the law so they don't go to jail too. They will consult a lawyer before doing anything questionable. Fineing banks and bankers is just stupid. They're in the money business and they have a lot of money. It seems like fineing banks is just for show, like, "see, we're cracking down on the banks". Fineing banks and not jailing the people in the banks who are commiting the crimes is just helping these criminals to keep doing what they're doing.

ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 9 years 18 weeks ago

Banksters may view themselves as "Master of the Universe", but they are actually more like bloody "Monsters of the Universe" (crooks and extorionists). When their EU debt-based monetary system finally collapses (as predicted), those mega-banks will disappear and many of their executives may end up in jail (as rightly happened in Iceland).

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 18 weeks ago

"When will we lock up the banksters?" Thom asks. Not while Obama is in office. - AIW

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 18 weeks ago

The Constitution does not say we can't shoot anyone without Congressional approval. War and peace are not defined, thereby providing the mother of all loopholes.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 18 weeks ago

Korea was divided at the end of WW2 as it was retaken from Japan.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 18 weeks ago

The email joking about Canada having plans to invade the U.S. probably meant "Thickes" as Alan and Robin Thicke.

Stanman's picture
Stanman 9 years 18 weeks ago

First of all, thank you so much, Thom Hartmann, for all you do and all you are. You never stop, even when understanding that the golden rule is the ones who own the gold, rule. This HSBC criminal activity is so vile, but they have the gold. No wonder man created a heaven...there has to be something better. One day millions will see and perhaps finally mean that "we are not going to take it anymore". But the way Americans vote (when they do vote) Republican makes me see little hope in what's left of democracy in this once glorious country. That's when leaders like you make me continue.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 18 weeks ago

What do I think we should do about HSBC???

Well, to borrow an idea from the late George Carlin... Public, upside down Crucifixions is a good place to start.


Willie W's picture
Willie W 9 years 18 weeks ago

No one is going to jail as long as they pay their protection dues.... I mean fines. If you're going to scam the public, the government wants it's cut.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 18 weeks ago

Reply to #16: Glorious, when?

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
From Screwed:
"Hartmann speaks with the straight talking clarity and brilliance of a modern day Tom Paine as he exposes the intentional and systematic destruction of America’s middle class by an alliance of political con artists and outlines a program to restore it. This is Hartmann at his best. Essential reading for those interested in restoring the institution that made America the envy of the world."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning and When Corporations Rule the World
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current