Just what law has HSBC broken?

Serious question here:

The UK has taken no legal action against the bank despite the evidence in the leaked files of wrongdoing, and only one individual has faced prosecution.

Is it against the law for the Swiss subsidiary of a British bank to do things that are legal under Swiss law?

If so, which law?

As to this:

France has recovered £188m in taxes and fines from a list of 3,000 clients and Spain has recovered £220m, also from 3,000 clients. The UK, by contrast, has recovered just £135m from a list of 6,000 clients in a series of secret deals that kept names out of the public domain.

We have non-doms, other countries don’t in quite the same manner. So, you’d expect rather more of “ours” to not be tax evaders.

12 thoughts on “Just what law has HSBC broken?”

  1. Can we also.please note just what a drop in the ocean these figures.are in terms of the total tax.take of these nations. Remember, Ritchie believes the tax gap due to EVASION is over £100 billion.

  2. I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal for a UK company to have its overseas subsidiaries undertake activities which are illegal in the UK, but legal in that country.

    For example when Sir James Dyson opens a factory in Malaysia, it’s so that he can pay less than the UK’s minimum wage, so that he doesn’t have to adhere to UK planning permission, health & safety, or pollution controls. Yet he gets a knighthood.

  3. France has recovered £188m in taxes and fines from a list of 3,000 clients and Spain has recovered £220m, also from 3,000 clients. The UK, by contrast, has recovered just £135m from a list of 6,000 clients in a series of secret deals that kept names out of the public domain.

    So all in the same order of magnitude, then. What would perhaps be odd is if the UK had recovered £2m from 6,000 clients, but the terms “by contrast” and “just” there are poorly applied. Only a clown would expect a proportional relationship in this particular scenario.

  4. you are missing the point. We have thrown out the old rules and replaced them with a new version of mob rule. Once you understand that then the headlines make perfect sense!

  5. Oilfield E,

    > So all in the same order of magnitude, then.

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. The question is, are The Guardian genuinely that shit with numbers, or are they just trusting their readers to be?

  6. > Just what law has HSBC broken?

    Hadn’t you heard, Tim? Banking. It’s illegal now. According to everyone.

    I get this all the time about 2008 (including from my mother): “Why hasn’t anyone been prosecuted yet? Not one person in jail! Isn’t that a disgrace?” And I always have the same reply: “Tell me which law was broken, and then we can discuss who could be prosecuted for it.” Apparently, this misses the point, whatever the fucking point is.

  7. I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal for a UK company to have its overseas subsidiaries undertake activities which are illegal in the UK, but legal in that country.

    It depends. There are bits of the Bribery Act that criminalise various activities overseas, even if legal in that country, and for a morning laugh have a squint at the impact of POCA on bull-fighting (now resolved!).

    Also, Gary Glitter.

  8. The Grauniad has, of course, got its numbers wrong. The BBC says “Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Gauke told MPs that HMRC had looked at 6,800 cases relating to HSBC, and found a number of duplications.
    The cases left numbered 3,600, he said, of which 1,000 were investigated, while the remainder had “no case to answer”.
    He said that, as a result, HMRC recouped £135m “that would not previously have been raised”.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31300833
    So, just one sentence before the £135m that they quote, we read that the number who were investigated because they might or might not have evaded tax was 1,000 not 6,000.
    Can the Grauniad columnists read?

  9. Christie – Excellent points. It’s precisely because of the underlying principle that we’ve had to make those specific exceptions though. Anything else is assumed to be legit.

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