HSBC affiliate in Swiss Leaks misappropriated €180 billion

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PARIS — French newspaper “Le Monde” revealed last night after a large investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that between 2005 and 2007 more than €180 billion would have transited through a private bank in Switzerland, where world leaders, including kings and celebrities, hid their savings. According to the news organization, an HSBC subsidiary would have accepted and even encouraged customers of 200 foreign countries to place their savings there.

That’s a total of over 100,000 international clients who would have been tempted to evade the control of tax authorities by transiting funds through accounts in Geneva. “The World” has access to a list of the names of the bank’s prestigious clients, and shared it with more than 50 other international media bodies, thus mobilizing some 154 journalists.

The analysis of these accounts cover a period from November 2006 to March 2007. The billions were mostly hidden behind offshore structures in Panama and the British Virgin Islands.

Among the famous customers involved in this case of possible mass international fraud are personalities from various backgrounds such as Mohamed VI, the current king of Morocco, Elle McPherson, the famous Australian top model of the 90s, actress Joan Collins, and even Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher. No exception for France — the famous hairdresser Jacques Dessange had an account in HSBC’s Swiss industry, where there would have been up to €1, 6 million between 2006 and 2007, according to the famous “listings Falciani” — named after the employee of HSBC who had stolen his employer’s client lists and details.

Nina Ricci’s heiress also appears on the list: € 18.7 million would have transited through her Swiss account.

“We recognize and assume responsibility for past failures of compliance and control procedures,” the British bank responded in a press release.

According to HSBC, the Swiss subsidiary had not been fully integrated into the group after its acquisition in 1999, and therefore the compliance levels were subsequently “significantly lower” than the norm, and “this could have led to a number of customers who may not have fully complied with their tax obligations.” The bank adds that its Swiss subsidiary had in recent years undergone a “radical transformation” and that such tax evasion practices were outdated.

Gérard Davet, a French instigator and journalist for Le Monde, spoke to BMFTV this morning. “It’s been six years that we are working on this investigation with Fabrice Lhomme, a year that we are in possession of the data, and from the beginning we said that we are facing an absolutely amazing case because of its size, over 180 billion and more than 100,000 clients, in 10’s of thousands of offshore accounts. … We have revealed a big system and we are dealing with an absolutely awesome scanda. … In 2005 there has been a European tax that was put in place and the bank itself has offered its customers to set up offshore structures to hide their money in Panama or Virgin Islands UK. … There was a whole system of HSBC account managers who went canvassing customers in France in prestigious hotels and restaurants, trying to make them believe in very interesting but totally fraudulent investments. People need to understand that 98 percent of persons who used this system are fraudsters.

“All this is only a part of what we have discovered. We have identified the bank’s employees who had opened accounts with millions of dollars in them. Even assuming that these people are paid very well, it is inconceivable that it is not money that they keep their customers. … Dozens of investigations are still in progress.”

Yann Galut, French lawyer and politician, meanwhile said, “Seek reparation from Switzerland, who can’t get away with this.”

By Esther Hervy

 

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Possible new law of nature on the way

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The world of physics is excited about strong but early evidence about the behavior of muons, paricles identical to electrons only 200x more massive (heavier), which once born take 2.2 microseconds to decay into an electron, and which spin like tops. In a new, extremely precise measurement, they were made to wobble using magnetic fields but they unexpectedly wobbled quite significantly faster than the Standard Model suggests they would. They might spin so fast due to an unknown force caused by an unknown particle, and this is what is so exciting.

“We found that a muon … is not in agreement with our current best theory of physics at the subatomic level, and … it potentially points to a future with new laws, new particles and new forces in physics which we haven’t seen to date,” said Professor Mark Lancaster at U of Manchester.

“The main goal of the experiment is to make the measurement and compare with the theory, and if they disagree then it’s telling us that there’s something in nature which is not in the theory,” explained James Mott at Fermilab.

The four known forces of nature (gravity, electricity, two nuclear forces: strong and weak interactions) have left scientists without an answer for some observed phenomena, such as the speed at which galaxies spin (faster than the best model suggests). Therefore, they continue to search for glitches in their already-tight models which might point them things they don’t yet know about.

The most recent work was done at Fermilab (Muon g-2 experiment), but a similar experiment was already done earlier at the Large Hadron Collider. These tools accelerate particles in large rings at close to the speed of light.

The evidence needs more tests for greater certainty, particularly to rule out the possibility of a systematic error, and particularly with a new, independent experiment, but physicists will be chasing this line of experiment eagerly.

“This is outstanding confirmation of experimental technique, and very, very suggestive of the possibility of new physics,” noted scientist David Hertzon of U of Washington.

By the editors

#AnomalousMagneticDipoleMomentOfTheMuon #QuantumElectrodynamics

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People in Kachin state demonstrate against China

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YANGON, Myanmar – The people in the Pharkant area of Kachin state demonstrated against China this week, drawing a cross on the Chinese flag and burning a picture of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing.

“China stands with the military leader,” shouted the demonstrators.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Aye Yarwaddy

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Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

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Kayin IDPs struggle to get for food

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YANGON, Myanmar – Kayin internally displaced people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, hiding in the forest from the air strikes of the Myanmar military.

The IDPs fled to neighboring Thailand, but Thai government turned them back. However, Wednesday morning the Thai government opened Maeseli jetty in Maehaungsaung district to sending rations and medicines over the border to Kayin state, according to a Thai media.

By Htay Win

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Twenty Myanmar celebrities charged with incitement

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YANGON, Myanmar -They were charged under the country’s media law with inciting government employees to join the popular civil disobedience movement (CDM) through social media.

Celebrities took part in the NLD election campaigns and are thought to have played a large part in influencing the public, particularly Myanmar’s youth, to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Myanmar celebrity

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