Why to search in mysterious paths and follow lost traces when the aid is so close? Herve Falciani, former HSBC employee who stole and forwarded the data of 24,000 bank customers offered to help the debt-ridden country to combat tax evasion. Speaking to private SKAI TV, Falciani declared he was ready to help Greece, if he would be asked to.
Falciani claims that Greece could definitely use the list as other countries like France, Germany and Great Britain did.
Video: Interview Falciani-Skai TV Note: Falciani spoke to Skai in August 2012 before he was arrested. You can hear or read (in Greek) the whole interview by clicking the link. there it’s been said, that the number of Greeks on the list is 1970.
The notorious list contains also the names of some 2,000 Greek tax dodgers with large assets in HSBC branch in Geneva, Switzerland. The list was handed over to Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou in 2010 by his then French counterpart Christine Lagarde. After an Odyssey of two years, the list or part of it reached the hands of the head of Financial Crimes Units (SDOE) and the economic prosecutor Peponis today, October 2nd 2012 in a USB stick.
The list was considered as a ‘hot potato’ by any Greek official who got it on his hands, as the data was illegally obtained.
Apparently a wrong assumption that maybe “faciliated tax dodgers to cover their traces” as they had more than two year to do so, as Greek media comment. The countries that obtained the list forwarded it to the national tax offices.
France: French authorities have returned the data to Switzerland and have agreed not to use the information to lodge an official request with Swiss authorities to secure further information that would help pursue French tax dodgers. However, it reserved the right to use the data unilaterally to chase such evaders in France. It may also give the data to other governments looking to use it to pursue their own tax evaders.
The public prosecutor in Nice, Eric de Montgolfier, told a group of reporters Wednesday 14 April that 80,000 account holders have been identified, 8,000 of them French, from the files stolen from HSBC bank’s Geneva offices, Other sources claim, French HSBC account holders were 3,000.
Great Britain: Much of the information has been used by national tax offices, including Britain’s HM Revenue & Customs, to pursue the named individuals. HMRC sent letters to 6,000 of the individuals offering them a limited amnesty to repay tax that was owed or face further sanction. A raft of tax prosecutions has flowed from the information. … In the UK a number of individuals have had thousands of pounds in fines flowing from investigations made on the back of the information.
Germany: Falciani, the former HSBC computer engineer offered s offering German tax authorities a CD-rom containing the names of 1,300 Germans who stashed money in accounts held at the Swiss subsidiary of the British bank. In exchange for the 2.5 million euros demanded by Falciani, Berlin will be able to recover between 100 and 200 million euros in lost tax revenue. “But should the state make use of stolen goods? Can data that was acquired illegally be used in a trial in a state of law?” wonders Frankfurter Rundschau. After a quick wrestle with its conscience, the daily finally concludes that tax authorities have a right to self defense to recover money that is being illegally withheld.
A Swiss prosecutor filed a lawsuit against Finance Minister of NRW just because the data was bought from Falciani and not because Germany used this data to chase tax evaders.
Lagarde, the tax-free earner of IMF, was zealously spreading the HSBC data. She provided with files Spain and Italy as well. the two countries had no problem to investigate the issues.
What apparently other countries did was to modify laws in order to legalize access and usage of stolen data.
In Greece, we concentrate on modifying austerity measures….