HSBC whistleblower: You have to know how banks work to understand just how big this scandal is

Hervè Falciani SmileREUTERS/Andrea ComasHervè Falciani

Hervè Falciani, the former HSBC employee who became a whistleblower by handing over client bank account details to French authorities triggering investigations into money-laundering and tax evasion, believes that many other banks are involved in similar practises.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Falciani says that what he revealed about HSBC is only just the tip of the iceberg.

“If you dig down a little bit in how offshore banks and intermediate banking work, you would understand that these things cannot involve just one single bank,” he said. Everything must be analysed and understood in the next few months.”

At the same time, Falciani is still sceptical about the measures that the eurozone is putting in place against tax evasion: “Control institutions are not independent enough,” Falciani said, referring to European tax authorities. “We should let other institutions, like NGOs and associations of consumers, take part in the control process.”

In the interview, Falciani also alleges that customers of HSBC and other Swiss banks used a “fiscal shield” to transfer their capitals back to Italy and France without further taxes on them.

Falciani also denied that he tried to sell the files before leaking to them to the media. “That is completely false,” he said. “For many years my only goal was to collect files to hand down to the inquirers. I don’t care about my case. I know I am paying a price that is unfair, but I don’t care. I will keep fighting.”

Falciani is currently being prosecuted in Switzerland for revealing banking secrets and is living under the protection of the French authorities.

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