HSBC files are ‘just tip of iceberg’: Whistleblower

HSBC files are 'just tip of  iceberg': Whistleblower
HSBC Private Bank helped thousands of French nationals dodge taxes. Photo: Beat Strasser/Flickr
This week's explosive claims that 100,000 people around the world used HSBC Private Bank in Switzerland to evade the eyes of the tax man is just the "tip of the iceberg", the French whistleblower behind the leaks claimed on Tuesday.
Hervé Falciani, a former computer analyst at HSBC in Switzerland, made headlines again on Tuesday after claiming that the revelations published about 100,000 tax fraudsters featuring sportsmen, kings, politicians and performers, were nothing more than the tip of the iceberg.
"There's a lot more than what the journalists have seen," he told French newspaper Le Parisien.
Falciani said that the original documents he handed France's then Finance Minister Christine Lagarde back in 2008 contained "several million transactions". He said that "these figures give an idea of how big the iceberg actually is".
The Frenchman of Italian origins, who compares himself to James Bond and has been likened to Edward Snowden, had leaked secret files – which came to be known as "the Lagarde list" – to French authorities after fleeing his job in the Swiss bank.
Up until Sunday the files were only thought to contain details of French nationals such as high profile comedian Gad Elmaleh.
But then Le Monde newspaper and other publications around the world including The Guardian, published further details of the list they say contains information about 106,000 people around the world who deposited a total of €180 billion in Swiss accounts in a massive tax evasion scheme. 

(Former HSBC employee Hervé Falciani. Photo: AFP)
Falciani told Le Parisien that the "rest of the information" that is currently in the hands of the French tax administration also contains account numbers, names of offshore companies involved, phone numbers and message history between clients and the banks.
The latest documents contained the names of 6,300 French nationals, who deposited around €5.8 billion out of sight of the French taxman.
"The holders of the accounts are striking in their variety, Le Monde writes. "French surgeons wishing to launder undeclared fees rub shoulders with… Belgian diamond traders and Al-Qaeda funders."
The bank had already been placed under formal investigation in France accused of "money laundering the proceeds of tax evasion".

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