Last week saw the leak of documents presenting the names of approximately 130,000 potential tax evaders that used the Geneva branch of HSBC. The documents were obtained through the collaboration of news outlets such as the Guardian, Le Monde and BBC, as well as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Given the ongoing promotion of austerity by European governments and its detrimental effect on the provision of public services, the way in which such a tax scandal has been overlooked is rather appalling, considering that tax evasion has deprived governments of revenue to be used in providing these services.
Given the leaked bank account files, HSBC is accused of having helped the customers dodge taxes, as well as concealing assets and making untraceable payments. Furthermore, HSBC advised these customers on circumventing tax authorities in their respective countries.