An ICIJ Investigation Swiss Leaks: Murky Cash Sheltered by Bank Secrecy

Private Bank Secrets Revealed

A team of journalists from 45 countries unearths secret bank accounts maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities

60,000 LEAKED FILES

Explore the Swiss Leaks Data

The Swiss Leaks project is based on a trove of almost 60,000 leaked files that provide details on over 100,000 HSBC clients…

Hervé Falciani has taken a long, strange journey from bank computer expert to jailed fugitive to candidate for office to whistleblower spokesman.

When accounts in the leaked files list a profession, “housewife” pops up with amazing frequency. But these so-called housewives are not always what they seem.

Key findings

  • HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) continued to offer services to clients who had been unfavorably named by the United Nations, in court documents and in the media as connected to arms trafficking, blood diamonds and bribery.
  • HSBC served those close to discredited regimes such as that of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian president Ben Ali and current Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad.
  • Clients who held HSBC bank accounts in Switzerland include former and current politicians from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, Romania, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Lebanon, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Paraguay, Djibouti, Senegal, Philippines and Algeria.
  • The bank repeatedly reassured clients that it would not disclose details of accounts to national authorities, even if evidence suggested that the accounts were undeclared to tax authorities in the client’s home country. Bank employees also discussed with clients a range of measures that would ultimately allow clients to avoid paying taxes in their home countries. This included holding accounts in the name of offshore companies to avoid the European Savings Directive, a 2005 Europe-wide rule aimed at tackling tax evasion through the exchange of bank information.

About this investigation

Swiss Leaks is a collaborative investigation that exposes how the Swiss branch of one of the world’s biggest banks, HSBC, profited from doing business with tax dodgers and criminals around the world.

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One weapons dealer, Katex Mines, helped fuel the Liberian rebel uprising using child soldiers that left hundreds of civilians dead and 2,000 injured.

New revelations about a British lawyer who facilitated bribes through secret Swiss HSBC accounts in his name and names of family members may place the Nigerian government under pressure.

Belgium, the center of the world’s diamond trade, has charged HSBC’s Swiss Private Bank with fraud. And it’s not just Belgium – many dealers are under investigation around the globe.

60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker investigates the biggest leak in Swiss banking history and examines HSBC’s business dealings with a collection of international…

From HSBC whistleblower Hervé Falciani to the French authorities to Le Monde and ICIJ, find out more about the dataset behind the Swiss Leaks project.

Swiss Leaks

Key Findings

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) continued to offer services to clients who had been unfavorably named by the United Nations, in court documents…

Swiss Leaks is a collaborative investigation that exposes how the Swiss branch of one of the world’s biggest banks, HSBC, profited from…

When ICIJ and its media partners contacted the bank for comment, HSBC initially insisted that ICIJ destroy the data. Late last month, they gave a final response that was more conciliatory. Read it in full here.

A team of journalists from 45 countries has unearthed secret bank accounts maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities.

HSBC client notes reveal how the bank sold ways to shield wealth from tax authorities – and set off investigations the world over of both the bank and clients.

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