Business Irish

Friday 22 September 2017

#SwissLeaks: Irish people who made settlements with Revenue feature in leaked secret files

HSBC
HSBC
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Irish people who made tax settlements with Revenue feature on leaked secret files from the Swiss arm of one of the world's largest banks.

The massive files contain the names of people from around the world and amount to the biggest banking leak in history.

International clients featured on the list include arms dealers, traffickers in blood diamonds and associates of dictators in developing countries.

The files - believed to number 100,000 and cover the period between 2005 to 2007 - contain information on some 30,000 accounts, which hold a combined €100 billion in funds.

The file was given to French authorities who alerted countries of people named in the files including Ireland in 2010.

Subsequently, the list was obtained several years later by French newspaper 'Le Monde' who then decided to collaborate with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Some 45 media outlets are part of this consortium, including the 'Irish Times'.

This evening, the 'Irish Times' has reported that a number of Irish names feature on the list which they have seen. However, they have not named any individual yet.

Independent.ie understands that some 350 clients are associated with Ireland - 51pc of these have an Irish passport or nationality.

The files have led to investigations across the globe, resulting in large tax settlements.

However, Revenue in Ireland had taken the decision not to seek a case against HSBC Private Bank in Geneva on charges of aiding and abetting tax evasion.

It is not illegal for an Irish person to hold an account in a Swiss bank - the list features the names of well known Irish business people and Dublin based investment funds, who are doing nothing wrong.

However, according to the 'Irish Times', the list also features a number of individuals who made confidential settlements with the Revenue as part of their investigation targeting off shore deposits in 2004.

London-listed HSBC, which reports billions of euro in profit every quarter and has offices in 74 countries across six continents, issued a statement to the ICIJ which said: "We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC’s Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today."

The story has gained much reaction throughout the world - the investigation is due to feature on renowned US investigative programme '60 Minutes' later this evening and is trending under #SwissLeaks

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