The Malta Independent 14 April 2024, Sunday
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Updated: Tancred Tabone named as HSBC Private Swiss Bank account holder, government to request info

Monday, 9 February 2015, 14:10 Last update: about 10 years ago

As much as €687.4 million linked to bank accounts in Malta have been deposited with the HSBC Private Bank in Switzerland. One of those account holders is former Enemalta Chairman Tancred Tabone, who is facing charges of taking bribes.

This was revealed by Swiss Leaks, the international collaboration of news outlets, including the Guardian, the French daily Le Monde, BBC Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

In a statement to ICIJ, Tabone's lawyer denied any wrongdoing by his client and said that his financial position was regularised. He also told ICIJ that his client had given the bank authorisation to release information about his holdings there.

Malta is ranked #54 among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files.

The €687.4 million refer to 139 bank accounts and 71 clients, of which 34% have Maltese passport or nationality.The funds are in 82 client accounts opened between 1982 and 2006 and linked to 139 bank accounts.

The files at the foundation of the Swiss Leaks articles and this interactive application are based on data secreted away by Hervé Falciani, a former HSBC employee-turned-whistleblower. He turned the data over to the French government in 2008 and its tax authority launched an investigation.

The French newspaper Le Monde obtained a version of the tax authority data, which covers accounts of more than 100,000 clients (individuals and legal entities) from more than 200 countries. The newspaper shared it with ICIJ with the agreement that it would assemble a global team of journalists to explore the data and produce this reporting project.

The data comes from three types of internal bank files from different time periods. One reflects clients and their associated private accounts at the Swiss branch of the bank mostly from 1988 to 2007. Another is a snapshot of the maximum amounts in the client accounts during 2006 and 2007. The third is of notes on clients and conversations with them made by bank employees during 2005.

Swiss Leaks warns: There are legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Swiss Leaks interactive application have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. 

(See earlier story)

Finance Ministry Statement 

"The Minister for Finance notes the information released publicly worldwide by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in collaboration with various news outlets, and which pertains to HSBC Swiss accounts as associated to account holders from various countries, including Malta. 

The Minister for Finance has immediately initiated a process by means of which he has asked the Commissioner for Revenue to request the information from the relevant sources.

With respect to specific instances of suspected tax evasion, the Maltese Revenue Authorities are empowered to obtain further information from the Swiss Government, or from the government of any EU Member State, on the basis of the agreement related to the Savings Tax Directive. The penalties related to tax evasion are established according to law."

 

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