It’s been quite a week for HSBC. The shots have been fired from all angles as the evidence grows around their alleged tax-dodging scandal. Most recently ex-director of public prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald has come out of the woodwork saying HSBC have been cheating the government through tax evasion. What on earth must this British super-bank have over the Conservative government to avoid investigation on these shores? Their power is frightening, as is their absolute flagrant disregard for morality, integrity and humanity.
This has been brewing in a week that also saw a wonderful, viral-tastic article from ex-Telegraph journalist Peter Oborne on why he resigned from the renowned newspaper – the thrust of his argument centring on the remarkable protection that was given HSBC by The Telegraph top brass and well-connected owners.
Something was clearly fishy. He was investigating claims that well-known British Muslims had received letters out of the blue from HSBC informing them that their accounts had been closed. It was a story that would surely gain huge attention and be of great interest to the Telegraph readership. He filed it. Waited. Nothing. Enquired. “There’s a legal issue,”was the response. The Telegraph lawyers knew nothing about it.
Suffice to say there was a big cover up ensuing and Oborne quickly discovered that such reporting bias in favour of HSBC, whether it was to bury bad news or amplify a positive for the mega-brand of British banking, had been going on for donkeys’ years.
CV: Criminal Vitae
Indeed, scurrilous, if not downright criminal behaviour, has been following HSBC around for some time. Only a couple of years ago they were forced to pay nearly $2billion to regulators for mass money laundering. It seems a whole raft of dodgy dealings were taking place and the bank’s compliance outfit were either blind to it or even complicit in it.
These activities are not JUST focused on greed either. It’s not purely through an unwavering desire to optimise profits that these things materialise. It runs far deeper than that. It’s immoral. Plain and simple. It’s evil. HSBC were involved in moving enormous amounts of cash between Mexico and the US to service prolific drug cartels. Think of the people who are ultimately damaged by these operations – communities that are being ripped apart by street gangs and drug wars.
It’s not just HSBC in my sights here, either. This sick culture of criminality is at the heart (and top) of nearly every financial institution on the planet. Over the past several years, Standard Chartered, ING, Credit Suisse, RBS, Lloyds and Barclays have all had to cough up some hefty sums in fines for their litany of dubious transactions with the likes of Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar.
When will this industry ever clean itself up? Not any time soon, I fear. Because the world’s most powerful governments are clearly in bed with these dripping-rich organisations. The biggest media houses in the land are at it too. It’s a relentless three-way romp – and not one that you’d want to rent out on DVD. The participants are among the ugliest, most repelling creatures to crawl this earth.
Help! I need some body. Help!
No wonder we’ve endured two monumental global financial crises in the past 15 years. The palace is run by absolute thieving hounds and our lives are left hanging by a thread at the whim of their daily cover-ups, indiscretions swept under the carpet and misdemeanors filed in the attic. And the regulatory bodies? They’re off the pace, with no real power or motivation to enforce change. They’re happy to play puppydog. Compliant is truly their middle name.
The latest HSBC shenanigans have finally woken The Financial Conduct Authority from their slumber. They’ve said they’ll “take a look”. Wow. I can see the orchestrators of this whole facade quaking in their boots. An FCA investigation into something so sizeable and complex will keep them up to their arms in paperwork for the next 20 years. Nothing is going to get done.
As The Guardian recently pointed out so accurately, the whole system is set up to create scandal and wrongdoing.
The jury’s in!
Going back to Lord Ken Macdonald for a moment. He has been quoted this week as saying: “It seems clear, from the evidence we have seen, that there exists credible evidence that HSBC Swiss and/or its employees have engaged over many years in systematic and profitable collusion in serious criminal activity against the exchequers of a number of countries.”
This man knows what’s going on. As do plenty others who have since become distanced from the grime and sleaze of that slithery underbelly. So get him and his cronies to investigate. Give them a 3-month deadline and give them complete licence to call out the banking big shots and clampdown on all major operations until they’re proven to be clean. It’s the only way we’re ever going to move this cancerous industry to a state of vague health and wellbeing.
Lord Macdonald continues: “The corporate and wholesale nature of HSBC’s Swiss’ apparent involvement in what amounts to grave cross border crime makes it all the more obvious that the relevant evidence, once it came the attention of HMRC, should have been the subject of urgent and sustained criminal investigation.”
Despite the evidence being in the hands of HMRC for nearly five years, no action has so far been taken against the bank. Unbelievable!
10 scandals that we STILL haven’t learned from
I leave you with this. 10 of the biggest banking scandals to have rocked the globe. And still the same scams and mistakes occur, day in and day out.
It’s time we collectively stood up and demanded a fair, transparent, regulated world of financial services. One that rewards those who businesses who truly believe in putting people first and profits second. They may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.