Number-crunching, a la Private Eye: the case of HSBC and its Swiss fine for “organisational deficiencies” in relation to money-laundering.
|$42.8 million||Fine imposed on HSBC by Geneva authorities for "organisational deficiencies" related to money-laundering uncovered in #SwissLeaks|
|More than $100 billion||Amount held in accounts exposed in #SwissLeaks|
|0.04%||Fine as a percentage of (revealed) assets under management|
|0.00%||Likely deterrent effect|
Not all the assets under management were laundered, of course. Far from it, we must hope. But the “organisational deficiencies” – including reassuring clients that no information would reach their home authorities, or using offshore accounts to circumvent disclosure requirements – represent risks that applied to the whole operation.
To put it another way, the fine is about a fifth of the £135 million in tax that HMRC recovered in the UK alone.
Even the prosecutor imposing the fine was embarrassed, and “launched a stinging attack” on the Swiss law that apparently prevented anything within yodeling distance of being a deterrent.