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#501003 - 02/12/15 07:36 PM Billions from Caribbean stashed in Switzerland
Marty Offline

9 Belizeans amongst HSBC clients that stashed billions in Swiss Accounts. The Belize clients held about 54.8 million US or over 109 million Belize dollars in hidden accounts.

WASHINGTON, USA -- The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report this week revealing billions of dollars held in nearly 60,000 internal Swiss bank documents from 2006 to 2007 leaked by whistleblower Hervé Falciani, a former employee of HSBC in Switzerland.

The report disclosed that HSBC maintained accounts for customers connected with 30 countries in the wider Caribbean – see table below:


* Estimated from percentages reported
Source: http://www.icij.org/project/swiss-leaks/explore-swiss-leaks-data

Some of these come as no surprise in that territories such as the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands are established offshore financial centres and none of the leaked accounts were held by their citizens or passport holders although billions of dollars were held in accounts associated with those territories.

However, in the case of The Bahamas, although it is also a financial centre, 55 Bahamian citizens or passport holders were associated with accounts at HSBC. Likewise, Bermuda, where 13 of its citizens or passport holders were associated with such accounts.

Also noteworthy is that one Suriname national held an account with HSBC in Switzerland, five customers from the US Virgin Islands, nine from Belize, four from Dominica, one from the Dominican Republic, three from Haiti, one from Grenada and two from Jamaica.

Venezuelans are also questioning why a former treasury minister and ex-bodyguard of late President Hugo Chávez is linked to an account with HSBC holding billions of dollars -- one of 490 customers holding Venezuelan passports.

The bulk of that amount was reportedly held by Venezuela’s Treasury Office under the name of Alejandro Andrade, who served as Venezuela’s treasury minister from 2007 to 2010, and was also president of the Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela, known as Bandes, from 2008 to 2010. The bank became the target of a US lawsuit targeting four individuals accused of participating in a kickback scheme benefiting Bandes’ vice president and a Miami-based brokerage firm. The scheme allegedly occurred during Andrade’s tenure, but Andrade himself wasn’t named in the suit. http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Wall-Street-executives-arrested-in-Venezuela-bribery-scheme-20737.html

Andrade was also a close associate of Chavez’s, having participated with him in the 1992 failed coup attempt. According to the report, he is now based in Palm Beach County, Florida, and “has invested in show horses.”

Venezuelan opposition deputy Andrés Velasquez spoke out in response to the leaks on Monday.

“I request that the government clarify the destinations of the public fund deposits in Swiss accounts,” he wrote on Twitter. “The corruption of the regime has obliterated immense oil revenue,” he added.


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#501021 - 02/13/15 09:58 AM Re: Billions from Caribbean stashed in Switzerland [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belizean Passport Holders Control 17 Million Dollars? Who Are These People?


A list of leaked Swiss bank accounts is making news in Belize tonight. And that's because the list shows that 97 Belizean bank accounts holding 54.8 million US dollars are hidden away in these accounts. Now, in a country like Belize with an active offshore banking sector, that's not too unusual, but what jumped out at us is the disclosure that nine of the accounts are held not by offshore companies, but by persons with Belizean passports.

Information released by a group of journalists called Swiss Leaks says that about 17 million dollars is controlled by those 9 Belizean passport holders, and the largest single account is for one Belizean with 8.9 million US dollars. All the accounts on the list were formed between 1999 and 2006.

Now, to put it in context, this list has been dominating headlines in Europe for the past week -the accounts linked to Belize rank the holdings of this country at #115 out of over 200 countries.

The list is built on a trove of 60,000 leaked files that provide details on over 100,000 clients of the international banking giant HSBC with combined holdings of over 119 billion dollars. The disclosure of the list is causing global shockwaves in developed and developing countries.

In Venezuela, for example a former treasury minister and ex-bodyguard of late President Hugo Chavez is linked to an HSBC account holding billions of dollars. The list also includes 30 Caribbean countries, led by The Bahamas, where 55 Bahamian citizens or passport holders were associated with accounts at HSBC.

But, coming back to Belize, the number is nine - and the question is, who are those nine? Well, the SWISSLEAKS website, organized by an international consortium of investigative journalists is not releasing the entire list at this time - though there is pressure on them to do so. That includes a request from 7News to get the Belize names.

SWISSLEAKS stresses that there are legitimate uses for Swiss Bank accounts, and there is no direct suggestion of implication that account holders are law breakers.

Channel 7


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#501059 - 02/14/15 10:36 AM Re: Billions from Caribbean stashed in Switzerland [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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 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 million dollars to settle allegations that it aided in money-laundering after reaching agreement with U.S. Authorities. 

Channel 5


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