International

Pakistanis too have their Swiss Accounts

338 Pakistanis with $859 million

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) is a subsidiary of London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, a British multinational banking and financial services company which is the world’s second largest banking entity. According to The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), 130 journalists “from 45 countries has unearthed secret bank account maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities”.

According to ICIJ’s ‘Murky cash sheltered by bank secrecy’, “The leaked files, based on the inner workings of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm, relate to accounts holding more than $100 billion”.

Of the $100 billion, 338 clients associated with Pakistan opened 648 accounts between 1970 and 2006. Of the $100 billion, 338 clients associated with Pakistan kept $859.7 million at HSBC Private Bank (Suisse). Of the $100 billion, one client associated with Pakistan had kept $133.5 million at HSBC Private Bank (Suisse).

The Nepal Rastra Bank (the central bank of Nepal) has launched an investigation into Nepalese clients of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse). A Spanish court has launched an investigation into the “amnesty offered to clients” of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse). The Brazilian “tax watchdog has opened an investigation into whether close to a dozen Brazilians involved in the Petrobras corruption scandal also allegedly held undeclared accounts” with HSBC Private Bank (Suisse).

In the US, Loretta Lynch, the nominee for the attorney general office, “warned that the Department of Justice could bring a criminal prosecution against the bank”. In the U.K., the Public Accounts Committee “confirmed that there would be an urgent inquiry by the committee in which HSBC would be required to give evidence”. In Switzerland, “prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against HSBC Private Bank, and raided the bank’s Geneva offices for evidence….”

Is the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) going to launch an investigation into Pakistani clients of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)? Is the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) going to look into undeclared accounts? Is the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights going to open a criminal investigation against HSBC Private Bank (Suisse)? Is our Public Accounts Committee (PAC), led by Khursheed Shah, going to get into action? Is the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) going to take suo motu action?

Who said, “For every action there is an equal and opposite program by the Government of Pakistan?”

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