Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bankers help wealthy Greeks evade

Another economic crisis, another bonanza for the offshore industry. Now Britain's Daily Telegraph is reporting

"Greek banks are being hit by a wave of redemptions as the country's most wealthy citizens and corporations look to move their money offshore or to international financial institutions perceived as safer homes for their assets.
. . .
HSBC's private banking in the country is understood to have been flooded with business, while the local operations of several other major international banks have already seen large inflows of money."

And where is this money going?

"Switzerland, the UK and Cyprus have been the largest recipients of the money, with the wealthiest Greeks looking to move their deposits to Swiss banks accounts to escape the more punitive tax measures many fear will be introduced in the wake of the country's economic crisis.

How does The Telegraph gets away with using the word "punitive" when, in light of what has happened, the correct word is "appropriate"?

Perhaps it is time for European countries to put advertisements in major newspapers, offering specific and significant rewards for bank whistleblowers who come forward to their tax authorities and expose what their employers are facilitating. Using informants like this has a long and honourable tradition in the fight against the Mafia and other criminal organisations, and recent experience in Europe and America has shown it can be very effective in combating tax evasion.

These are desperate times. Greece's economic stability is threatening the very foundations of the Eurozone. This is not all the fault of offshore jurisdictions, of course, as we have previously commented -- but there is no question that secrecy jurisdictions have played a massive part in creating the conditions for the current mess and are now profiting handsomely from it. Bank secrecy entices and causes tax evasion.


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