Detective Columber and the HSBC
-How ‘s the investigation going Detective?
Well, I’ve got as far as HSBC..
-Oh you mean the scandal involving the tax avoiding Swiss accounts
No, there’s a bigger one than that.
-Bigger? That was worth hundreds of millions.
This one is worth £1 billion.
-How come I’ve not heard of it?
Because HSBC has bought your media.
-Oh yes, I heard about the Telegraph not reporting HSBC fraud.
It has also bought the Guardian, the BBC, and the Sunday Times.
I’m afraid so.
-No, I thought the Guardian was run by a trust ‘to safeguard its journalistic integrity.’
It was from 1936 until 2008 when the Scott Trust became the Scott Trust plc -a profit making enterprise. The Guardian receives more money from HSBC than any other newspaper. It receives massive revenues for its rapidly expanding “Guardian US” website in America. This compromises the Scott Trust plc with regards to journalistic integrity.
-What about the BBC?
Well, the head of the BBC Board of Trustees is a lady called Rona Fairhead.
Well, she is chair of HSBC’s North America Trust. She holds 76,254 HSBC shares worth £436,000. Each year she receives £494,000 in fees and an additional £19,000 in benefits from HSBC.
-Wow, that’s more than £1,000 per day!
She also worked on the audit and risk committee WHEN HSBC was fined for money laundering. HSBC’s Swiss fraud happened when she was on that committee. The UK government rewarded her with her BBC role and a position as Britain’s Business Ambassador.
-Yes, but surely she can’t stop the BBC reporting the fraud?
The story of the latest fraud- the biggest in UK history- has been investigated and dropped by BBC Panorama, BBC Newsnight, BBC Money Box, BBC Radio 5 Live, not to mention Private Eye, and The Sunday Times- the last of which is heavily sponsored by HSBC.
-What? Why? I would have thought Private Eye…
Banks have good lawyers and deep pockets.
-Hang on a minute! The Guardian reported the Swiss tax avoiding scandal!
Yes but the Swiss story is not a threat to HSBC operating in the UK, as it has 556 other tax havens it can use. Also HSBC ‘paused’ their funding of the Guardian in response. Exposing this fraud would cost HSBC 1billion and threaten their UK operation.
-This is crazy! What fraud did HSBC do?
HSBC bought a firm called HTC which recovered debt on storecards for B&Q, Dixons, Currys, PC World, Furniture Village and John Lewis. HSBC employed two firms of solicitiors called Weightman LLP and Restons. The solicitors added 16.4% to the store card debt- overcharging 600,000 ordinary and endebted people an average of £1500 each, unknown to them. Those paying in instalments are still paying it off.
-How do you know this, Detective?
A whistleblower named Nicholas Wilson reported it. He quit the solicitors in 2008. The Law Society mediated his complaint and found in his favour. The OFT eventually made HSBC stop this practice but that was it- no prosecutions, no compensation. He complained to the FSA who did nothing. The FSA became the supposedly independent FCA, who wrote back to Wilson with a letter that included copied and pasted excerpts from HSBC’s own letter on the subject.
-What? The regulator was ‘team’ HSBC?
Yes, and to complain about that you have to go to the Complaints Commissioner, a man who was head of the SRA when they had earlier ignored Wilson’s case.
-My head’s spinning. You mean the regulators are colluding with HSBC?
-But that’s madness. What about MPs?
They questioned the chief of FCA –the copy and pasters- and he admitted HSBC had committed ‘fraud’ and ‘lied’ but to act on it would be ‘disproportionate.’
-But you said it’s the biggest fraud in British history!
I know. There are reports that others are at it too. American Express, and banks who are transferring debts. They add charges.
-But why is no-one doing anything?
The government has based its economy on the financial sector- ie. not on manufacturing- and the financial sector is run on fraud and laundered money. HSBC was fined $1.9billion for the biggest ever crime of drugs and terrorist money laundering, but to HSBC that was only 5 weeks profit. The US and UK government are scared of going for HSBC because they are worried about destabilising their economies. Even if this was not the case, investigating bodies such as the US National Crime Agency are compromised by the fact that their personnel have close links with HSBC, and sometimes work for one and then the other.
-So let me get this straight.
If I cycle my bike down a one way street and I get caught, I can be fined?
-If I commit fraud I can be jailed?
-But if I am a bank, I can commit fraud and buy the silence of the media and the complicity of the enforcement agencies and nothing happens?
-What? But then the law is not the law, it is just conditions applied by the powerful upon the working poor!
-But that’s like slavery! What can we do, Detective?
I’ve been thinking about this. The banks are scared of public awareness. After the Libor scandal in 2013, 2.4million customers moved their money from big banks. The BBC never reported this because of pressure from the British Banking Association.
So you can share this information far and wide. Importantly you can share the link and the hashtag below to help whistleblower Nicholas Wilson. He is raising public awareness to force a prosecution of HSBC.
*This info is in the public domain because of crowd sourced journalism by Nafeez Ahmed who was sacked from the Guardian, for… well it should be obvious why. Twitter handles below.