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Feb 13, 2015

More Swiss-leak Revelations

Tonight, there is additional information on the hundreds of millions of dollars stashed away at the H.S.B.C. Bank in Geneva. That story broke on Thursday night and in our research today, we have unearthed that aside from the nine Belizeans who reside in country, there are twenty other persons with Belizean passports who have stored money with the Bank. The funds are held in a maze of deposits in about one hundred accounts. The story broke when an employee of the Bank leaked the information to a French agency. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since the publication of a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), together with a list of accounts indicating that north of a hundred million Belize dollars have been deposited to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) in Switzerland, there are more questions than answers. We have been digging further into this story and came across records showing that at least twenty-nine clients with Belizean passports, nine of whom reside in country, have routed funds into ninety-seven respective accounts at HSBC Private Bank in Geneva.  Firstly, the institution, a subsidiary of the world’s second largest bank, is exclusively for clients with a minimum of five million U.S. dollars to invest.  That’s at least a hundred and forty-five million U.S. dollars; forty-five of which is shared among nine Belizean citizens.  Interestingly, the ICIJ report estimates that the total held at HSBC is fifty-four point eight million dollars.

 

When that information surfaced online via Swiss Leaks, skeptics were quick to write off the vast reserves as, presumably, the proceeds of illicit activities, including money laundering.  While particulars on the Belize accounts are hard to come by, News Five spoke off-record today with a former attorney for the Financial Intelligence Unit.  According to the lawyer, it is difficult to ascertain whether the monies held in the offshore accounts are the profits of criminal activity, since Swiss law carefully safeguards confidentiality within the banking sector.  Likewise, the existing account information in the disclosed HSBC files does not suggest that the law was broken. The fact that the largest dollar amount for any of the Belizean clients is approximately eight point nine million U.S. dollars is equally noteworthy.

 

Within the Caribbean Community, Belize ranks second in the number of citizens with Swiss Bank accounts.  Within a seven-year span beginning in 1999, forty-three accounts were opened at HSBC by individuals with a Belizean passport.  News Five attempted to get a comment from FIU Director, Eric Eusey, earlier today but we were told by his secretary that he was unavailable. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

As we said, because of Swiss laws on privacy in banking, the names of the account holders won’t be revealed.  One more interesting fact is that the bank will pay a record one point nine billion dollars to settle allegations that it aided in money-laundering after reaching agreement with U.S. Authorities. 

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1 Response for “More Swiss-leak Revelations”

  1. Hatari says:

    You don’t have to put your ill-gotten millions in Swiss accounts, just hide them under the bed like the Coye’s do. You sure don’t have to worry about Belize FIU or police convicting you of money laundering. Anyway, they probably think money laundering has something to do with soap and a scrub board.

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