I hope HSBC gets fined out of existence:
Britain’s biggest bank helped wealthy clients cheat the UK out of millions of pounds in tax, the BBC has learned.
Panorama has seen thousands of accounts from HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland leaked by a whistleblower in 2007.
They show bankers helped clients evade tax and offered deals to help tax dodgers stay ahead of the law.
HSBC admitted that some individuals took advantage of bank secrecy to hold undeclared accounts. But it said it has now “fundamentally changed”.
Not that I have anything against British citizens opening offshore bank accounts (I have two myself, as the article makes clear they are not illegal and there are genuine reasons for having one), nor do I think the whistleblower was performing any kind of public service (indeed, I think he should be filled in), and nor do I care for HMRC or anyone engaging in illegal tax evasion.
But what pisses me off beyond belief is the pompous, self-righteous posturing of British high street banks who make normal people jump through umpteen petty bureaucratic hoops at their own expense in order to carry out ordinary transactions or to open an account, all in the name of preventing money laundering or tax evasion. Most of what they ask you to do (e.g. present a notarised copy of your passport) is at their own discretion, and not a legal requirement. Yet this doesn’t stop some spotty twerp in a flammable suit pompously telling you “it’s the law” when you query whether it’s really necessary to take a day off work and visit a random solicitor just to submit a mortgage application form to a bank with whom you hold an account already.
Lock ’em up and throw away the key, bunch of fuckers.