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Response to jillan (Original post)

Sat Apr 9, 2016, 12:42 PM

3. Panama Papers? UBS?

UBS, HSBC Offshore Dealings Thrust Into Panama Papers Spotlight

by Greg Farrell and David Kocieniewski
Bloomberg, April 5, 2016

UBS Group AG and HSBC Holdings Plc -- two of the banks hardest hit amid a U.S. crackdown on customers’ illicit funds in recent years -- are now starring in a torrent of leaked documents detailing how they once helped clients set up thousands of offshore shell companies.

A report late Monday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, drawing on 11.5 million records extracted from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, describes the contortions UBS and other banks went through as they struggled to distance themselves from clients’ offshore companies amid mounting U.S. scrutiny. It also shows how European banks in particular had once helped customers create those entities: HSBC and its subsidiaries accounted for more than 2,300 of the shells registered through Mossack Fonseca, while UBS and Credit Suisse Group AG were behind more than 1,100 apiece, according to the ICIJ report.

While the use of offshore companies can be perfectly legal, the documents have ignited a global debate since they came to light on Sunday, exposing the extent to which politicians, business leaders and celebrities make use of a secretive financial ecosystem. The scandal is a fresh headache for banks, some of which have paid billions of dollars in fines in recent years, promised to fix controls and dismantled once-lucrative businesses as they try to put to rest accusations they harbored money for tax dodgers or criminals.

"Banks and professional organizations including accountants and lawyers need to up their game in relation to knowing who their ultimate clients are,” said Alan Sheeley, head of the civil fraud and asset recovery team at Pinsent Masons law firm in London. It also raises pressure on governments, he said.

In 2010, as UBS was trying to deal with a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into illegal tax shelters, the Zurich-based bank sought to pull back from the shell companies, according to the ICIJ report. In a meeting that year with Mossack Fonseca, the bank’s representatives asserted the law firm should be responsible for identifying the shells’ owners, while the law firm insisted it didn’t know who some of them were because the bank had withheld the information, according to the report.

‘Special Treatment’

The two sides eventually figured out a way forward: Mossack Fonseca would take over the administration of the shell companies established by UBS clients and accord them "special treatment," ICIJ said. Under the new system, Mossack Fonseca agreed to accept lighter due diligence from UBS on those clients, requiring less documentation on the owners and why they used shell companies, ICIJ reported.



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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
jillan Apr 2016 OP
artyteacher Apr 2016 #1
rhett o rick Apr 2016 #18
Katashi_itto Apr 2016 #2
LineReply Panama Papers? UBS?
Octafish Apr 2016 #3
yourpaljoey Apr 2016 #7
Octafish Apr 2016 #17
Sky Masterson Apr 2016 #4
onehandle Apr 2016 #5
whatchamacallit Apr 2016 #8
jillan Apr 2016 #10
TDale313 Apr 2016 #6
Zira Apr 2016 #9
hobbit709 Apr 2016 #11
reformist2 Apr 2016 #12
AgingAmerican Apr 2016 #13
rhett o rick Apr 2016 #20
Blue_In_AK Apr 2016 #21
restorefreedom Apr 2016 #14
onecaliberal Apr 2016 #15
Rebkeh Apr 2016 #16
Cheese Sandwich Apr 2016 #19
BernieforPres2016 Apr 2016 #22
rosesaylavee Apr 2016 #23
DrDan Apr 2016 #24
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