The exchanges between staff and clients of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) reveal damning evidence of tax evasion and wrongdoing by certain of HSBC’s clients. These conversations, which were never supposed to be made public, go to the heart of Swiss Leaks.
The leaked files, based on the inner workings of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm, relate to accounts holding more than $100 billion. The documents were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a project of the Center for Public Integrity, via the French newspaper Le Monde and they provide a rare glimpse inside the super-secret Swiss banking system — one the public has never seen before.
But the candid comments recorded by bank employees about their interactions with clients also reveal personal sides to the relationships between employees and clients of a bank that, in HSBC’s own words, was “typically used by wealthy individuals to manage their wealth in a discreet manner.”
While many client notes were business-like, describing simple transactions or investment instructions, other, more intimate exchanges were liberally scattered throughout the leak. These notes ran the gamut of human experience and emotion, and served as a constant reminder that, behind the dollar amounts and the intricate accounts, both clients and their account managers were real people, with every-day issues (albeit often very “First World problems”), observances, and inclinations.