Swiss Leaks

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Swissleaks: the map of the HSBC bank accounts

Swiss Leaks (or SwissLeaks) is the name of a journalistic investigation, released in February 2015, of a giant tax evasion scheme allegedly operated with the knowledge and encouragement of the British multinational bank HSBC via its Swiss subsidiary, HSBC Private Bank (Suisse).[1]


In February 2015, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website released information about bank accounts in Switzerland under the title Swiss Leaks: Murky Cash Sheltered by Bank Secrecy.[2] The investigation was conducted by over 130 journalists in Paris, Washington, Geneva, and 46 other countries.[1]

Investigators allege that 180.6 billion euros passed through HSBC accounts held in Geneva by over 100,000 clients and 20,000 offshore companies between November 2006 and March 2007. The data for this period comes from files removed from HSBC Private Bank by a former staffer, software engineer Hervé Falciani,[1] and handed to French authorities in late 2008.[3] The disclosed information has been called "the biggest leak in Swiss banking history".[4]

The ICIJ alleges that the bank profited from tax evaders and other clients.[2][5]

Media coverage[edit]

BBC reported that HSBC had put pressure on media not to report about the controversy, with British Newspaper The Guardian claiming HSBC advertising had been put "on pause" after The Guardian's coverage of the matter.[6] Peter Oborne, chief political commentator at Daily Telegraph resigned from the paper; in an open letter he claimed the Daily Telegraph suppressed negative stories and dropped investigations into HSBC because of the bank's advertising.[7] CBS published a story about the leaks in the news segment 60 Minutes.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "" SwissLeaks " : the backstory of a worldwide investigation". Le 
  2. ^ a b "Swiss Leaks: Murky Cash Sheltered by Bank Secrecy". International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 
  3. ^ "Whistleblower? Thief? Hero? Introducing the Source of the Data that Shook HSBC". International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 
  4. ^ "The Swiss Leaks". 8 February 2015. 
  5. ^ ICIJ. "HSBC files: Swiss bank hid money for suspected criminals". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ "Daily Telegraph's Peter Oborne urges HSBC coverage review". BBC. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Oborne, Peter (17 February 2015). "Why I have resigned from the Telegraph". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Whitaker, Bill (8 February 2015). "The Swiss Leaks". 60 Minutes. CBS. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 

External links[edit]