Bill Whitaker investigates the biggest leak in Swiss banking history and examines HSBC’s business dealings with a collection of international outlaws
The following script is from “The Swiss Leaks” which aired on Feb. 8, 2015. Bill Whitaker is the correspondent. Ira Rosen and Habiba Nosheen, producers.
This story was reported in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The largest and most damaging Swiss bank heist in history doesn’t involve stolen money but stolen computer files with more than 100,000 names tied to Swiss bank accounts at HSBC, the second largest commercial bank in the world.
A 37-year-old computer security specialist named Hervé Falciani stole the huge cache of data in 2007 and gave it to the French government. It’s now being used to go after tax cheats all over the world. 60 Minutes, working with a group called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, obtained the leaked files. They show the bank did business with a collection of international outlaws: tax dodgers, arms dealers and drug smugglers — offering a rare glimpse into the highly secretive world of Swiss banking.
This is the stolen data that is shaking the Swiss banking world to its core. It contains names, nationalities, account information, deposit amounts – but most remarkable are these detailed notes revealing the private dealings between HSBC and its clients.
Jack Blum: Well, the amount of information here that has come public is extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary.
Few people know more about money laundering and tax evasion by banks than Jack Blum.
He’s a former U.S. Senate staff investigator. We asked him to analyze the files for us.
Jack Blum: If you read these notes, what you understand is the bank is trying to accommodate the secrecy needs of the client. And that’s the first concern.
Take the case of British citizen Emmanuel Shallop. He was convicted for selling blood diamonds, those illegal gems used to finance conflicts in Africa. The documents show in 2005 HSBC…
Full transcript here – video embedded below