GFI’s Heather Lowe appeared on a panel at the Newseum on May 26, 2015, discussing the impact of the LuxLeaks and SwissLeaks investigations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The panel was sponsored by the Washington Foreign Law Society.
By Koen Roovers, February 18, 2015
The SwissLeaks Scandal around the HSBC Bank Subsidiary There Has Highlighted How Globalization Can Facilitate Tax-Dodgers. Only a Bright Spotlight of Information Can Deter Them.
A major leak of incriminating HSBC records last week resulted in print and television news coverage around the globe, trended on Twitter for several days and prompted several governments to start long-anticipated investigations. Through its Swiss entity, the British banking juggernaut helped customers from around the world to hide their money for tax evasion or other nefarious purposes without any questions asked. In fact, in several of the ‘scripts’ which accompany the accounts, banking personnel are seen to be very willing to accommodate dubious requests—from allowing cash withdrawals worth millions of dollars to setting up sham legal entities to obscure the ownership of the funds.
The ‘Lagarde list’, as the files have come to be known, has been around for a couple of years and so many have been asking: ‘Why do we only see government action once a group of reporters put the spotlight on this?’ Another frequent question has been whether the bank has really (as it claims) cleaned up its act.
Relatively few commentators have asked: how do we prevent this in the first place?
Swiss Leaks Findings Emblematic of Opaque System Illegally Draining US$1 Trillion Annually from Developing Economies
GFI: Bankers and Bank Executives Must be Held Accountable for their Behavior
WASHINGTON, DC – Leaked HSBC documents revealed today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) highlight a culture of corruption in the international banking system that goes far beyond the world’s second biggest bank, noted Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization. Featured Sunday evening on CBS News’ 60 Minutes program, the files allegedly highlight how the Swiss branch of the bank meticulously catered to some of the world’s biggest dictators and criminals, and they are but the latest example of a global bank gone rogue.
GFI’s Heather Lowe Testified at Public Hearing against Exempting Credit Suisse from U.S. Regulation Barring It from Claiming Preferential Asset Manager Status in Wake of Criminal Tax Evasion Conviction
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs Heather Lowe testified Thursday at a U.S. Department of Labor hearing where she cautioned policymakers against granting Credit Suisse AG (Credit Suisse) a special exemption from U.S. regulations barring it and its affiliates from receiving preferential asset manager treatment after the bank was criminally convicted of willfully aiding in U.S. tax evasion on an industrial scale over many years.
Testimony Urged U.S. Department of Labor to Reject Proposed QPAM Waiver by Credit Suisse
Heather Lowe, GFI’s legal counsel and director of government affairs, testified at a U.S. Department of Labor hearing in Washington on January 15, 2015, urging the department to maintain a ban on Credit Suisse’s ability to engage in high-risk transactions with the pension fund money that they manage following their November 2014 criminal conviction for aiding in tax evasion and the Swiss bank’s long history of systemic compliance failures at the institution and its affiliates.
Public Hearing to Consider Proposed Credit Suisse Exemption from U.S. Regulation Barring It from Claiming Preferential Asset Manager Status in Wake of Criminal Conviction
GFI Expert to Testify in Favor of Financial Integrity, Rule of Law, and Protection of Retirement Funds; Will Recommend Rejection of Proposed Waiver
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs Heather Lowe will testify at the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday during a public hearing considering whether Credit Suisse AG (Credit Suisse) should be granted an exemption from U.S. regulations barring it and its affiliates from receiving preferential asset manager treatment after the bank was criminally convicted of willfully aiding in U.S. tax evasion on an industrial scale over many years.
This letter constitutes a formal request by Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity, to testify at the U.S. Department of Labor public hearing on January 15, 2015, discussing the proposed individual exemption involving Credit Suisse AG’s ability to continue enjoying the privileges of “Qualified Professional Asset Manager” (QPAM) status.
By Joshua Simmons, November 10, 2014
Until Global Financial Crime Punishments include Individual Prosecutions, Rogue Banks Will Continue to Do as They Please, Writes GFI’s Joshua Simmons
After the recent spate of massive money-laundering, sanctions-busting, and tax-evasion scandals involving large international banks, sometimes it seems more difficult to name a single bank that has not been exposed for wrongdoing than list all those that have. One might think that, having worked their way through so many financial institutions, investigators and prosecutors would be at a loss for what to do next. The banks, though, seem more than willing to provide more work, with many either failing to meet their ends of their settlement agreements, continuing to move money for criminals and tax-evaders, or both.
Standard Chartered, which settled charges in mid-2012 related to its widespread activities violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, Burma, Libya, and Sudan, paid an additional fine this summer for failing to uphold its obligations under the settlement. The bank may now be in line for even more punishment, after new information seems to indicate additional transactions with Iranian entities that weren’t disclosed or admitted in the original settlement. It’s not presently clear whether Standard Chartered retained a relationship with Iranian customers after its settlement in 2012, but it certainly continued to take their money after the initial investigation began.