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HSBC Scandal Prompting Other Banks To Ask Selves, "Are We Helping Clients Dodge Taxes?"

And since it's been the favorite past time of private bankers...
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As many of you have surely heard, HSBC is in a bit of trouble at the moment re: a service it has offered clients for some time that involves showing said clients how to not pay taxes. Apparently this has caused a lot of other banks to do some soul-searching on the matter, asking not so much "Have we ever helped customers dodge taxes," as the answer is most certainly yes, everybody used to do it, but "Are we still and to what extent? Pay a little fine and move on or we are really quite fucked here"?

The reaction of rival private banking executives to the tax evasion scandal unfolding at HSBC has been swift. Many have called internal meetings and brought in outside advisers in the past 10 days to check there are no “problem dossiers” lurking in their own client portfolios, said several industry executives. The raid on HSBC’s Swiss headquarters on the shore of lake Geneva by the local public prosecutor on Wednesday morning will have only intensified the industry’s clean-up operations. The issue many in the industry face is that the controversial practices HSBC has been accused of — and for which it has apologised — were rife until a few years ago, say the executives. However much they sanitise their existing operations there is still a risk of the past catching up with them, they add.

HSBC tax scandal prompts rivals to check for ‘problem dossiers’ [FT]


It's Possible A Bunch Of Employees At UBS Deutschland Helped Clients Evade German Taxes

The bank has ran its own internal investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing but prosecutors are still going to take a look-see themselves. The investigation, being conducted by economic-crimes prosecutors in Mannheim, was started in March against unnamed employees after a tax inquiry in the southwestern state of Baden Wuerttemberg identified suspicious transfers of funds from Germany to Switzerland, allegedly executed by a German taxpayer with the assistance of the Frankfurt-based office of UBS Deutschland AG...In May, prosecutors seized more than 100,000 computer files and other records during a search of the bank's Frankfurt office, Mr. Lintz said. Tax investigators are assessing this material to identify evidence that bank officials acted as accessories to tax evasion, he said. In its statement, UBS Deutschland said that "an internal investigation into the specific allegations has not identified any evidence of misbehavior by UBS Deutschland AG." It said it is cooperating with the criminal investigation. Several investigations of UBS clients in Germany are under way by local prosecutors independent of the Mannheim investigation, Mr. Lintz said. He declined to say how many clients are under investigation. A report in the Thursday edition of German newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten said thousands of bank clients are under investigation. Mr. Lintz declined to confirm that figure. Germany Probes UBS Staff on Tax-Evasion Allegations [WSJ]

HSBC Chief Can't Believe The Unreasonably High "Standard" Banks Are Held To These Days

The CEO-- whose bank is in a lot of trouble for tax evasion-- is sick of always having to be so perfect, when other industries are allowed to do exactly as they please with zero accountability. And you want to know another thing? He's not going to promise the tax evasion stuff won't happen again.

Other Banks Ask 'How Are We Supposed To Compete With That?' After UBS Sets The Anniversary Presents Bar Impossibly High

Apparently we spoke too soon when reporting UBS had presented every employee with a "specially commissioned watch" to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the bank's birth, as the gift was actually more of a gift basket that included fine china (which one recipient described as being of "pretty decent quality."