The BBC’s Panorama programme later tonight (9 February 2015) is among numerous media that are focusing on revelations that HSBC, Britain’s largest bank, helped many people deprive the UK of tens of millions of pounds/dollars in tax.
But is — ok, was — HSBC the only bank doing this? This is among numerous other questions that, according to analysts interviewed by The Middle East in Europe, remain unanswered.
The leaked documents initially went to Le Monde and thereafter spawned a joint investigation involving the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the BBC and more than 50 other media outlets around the world.The documents include details of almost 7,000 British clients, the BBC said. Although the UK HMRC was given the documents in 2010 it managed to secure only one tax evasion prosecution, according to the BBC.
British parliamentarian Margaret Hodge, who heads a public accounts committee in the UK parliament, said, “I just don’t think the tax authorities have been strong enough, assertive enough, brave enough, tough enough in securing for the British taxpayer the monies that are due.”
Analysts interviewed by The Middle East in Europe, who requested anonymity, say that a lot more ground needs to be covered to investigate other banks’ conduct in terms of wide-ranging tax dodging schemes operated by financial institutions worldwide.
HSBC was founded in London in 1991 by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation to act as a new group holding company. As the origins of the bank lie in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where branches were first opened in 1865, the bank’s name is derived from the initials of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
Panorama: The Bank of Tax Cheats, 20.30 GMT, 9 February 2015, BBC1.