Leaked List Shows HSBC’s Swiss Arm Helped Putin Allies, Drug Lords and Fugitives Hide

by David Kocieniewski,  Bloomberg

The private-banking unit of HSBC Holdings Plc made significant profits for years handling secret accounts whose holders included drug cartels, arms dealers, tax evaders and fugitive diamond merchants, according to a report released Sunday by an international news organization.

HSBC is among a handful of banks to face criminal prosecution in recent years for its role in a Swiss banking system that allowed depositors to conceal their identities, and in many cases dodge taxes or launder ill-gotten cash. The report, prepared by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revealed for the first time the massive sweep of HSBC’s private-banking arm as of 2007, when it controlled $100 billion in assets and served a swath of wealthy depositors from the elite to the illicit.

HSBC shares fell 2.2 percent to 607.10 pence at 2:23 p.m. in London, giving the bank a market value of 117 billion pounds ($178 billion). Read the entire story.

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