There is no denying that HSBC Holdings plc (“HSBC”) has significantly benefited from the Swiss bank secrecy laws. A February 8, 2015 report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (the “I.C.I.J.”) revealed the private banking information for a Swiss subsidiary of HSBC as of 2007. The list of clients with secret accounts includes royal families, ambassadors, terror suspects, drug cartels, arms dealers, tax evaders, and fugitive diamond merchants.
The I.C.I.J. announced that it received information on 100,000 accounts through its collaboration with the French newspaper Le Monde, which obtained it from a source in the French government. The information was initially provided by a former HSBC employee, a computer technician named Hervé Falciani. French newspapers have dubbed him “the Man Who Makes the Rich Tremble.”