COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Over 90 clients linked to Sri Lanka held 129 accounts in a Swiss bank, with the biggest account involving 10.6 million US dollars, leaked data analysed by a Washington-based investigative journalists group shows.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which analysed over 100,000 accounts in HSBC Private Bank (Suisse), had located 129 accounts linked to Sri Lanka belonging to 92 clients involving 58.6 million dollars.
The biggest Sri Lanka-linked account was associated with 10.6 million US dollars.
An analysis by ICIJ covering the period of 1988 to 2006 shows activity slowly picking up until about 1998, then falling sharply. Activity picked up again in 2006.
About 18 percent were held by those with Sri Lanka passports or nationality. Most were linked to individuals or were numbered accounts and a few belonged to offshore companies.
ICIJ cautioned that not all Swiss bank accounts were illegal or linked to criminal activity.
HSBC in a statement to Britian’s Guardian newspaper said the Swiss bank had become part of the group following the acquisition of a US banking group and standards had been below those followed in the group.
Between 2007 and 2014 it had reduced the accounts to 10,000 from 30,000, and in 2011 it had overhauled the private banking business, HSBC had said.
The Guardian said the Swiss bank had appeared to help clients avoid taxes and were also operating banks for international criminals and corrupt businesses.