Stuart Gulliver, HSBCs chief executive, whose public apology about the reprehensible conduct of his institution's Swiss private bank, himself was playing the Panama corporation game, with his own accounts at the bank. And this is the person that we are trusting to reform HSBC ?
Gulliver reportedly was the beneficial owner of:
(1) Worcester Equities, Inc. a Panama corporation, meaning bearer shares.
(2) Worcester Foundation, a Panamanian foundation, that has no shareholders or members.
Apparently, the HSBC CEO parked $7.6m there, which represented bonus payments, and which he reportedly did not want his Hong Kong co-workers to know about. Gulliver lived and worked in the former British Crown Colony for many years, and he is cleverly still domiciled there for tax reasons.
One final note; Gulliver is employed, according to published reports, by the bank's Dutch affiliate, HSBC BV, and not by the UK parent holding company. One cannot help wondering what tax avoidance scheme is the reason for this, remembering the flap over the use, by multinationals of the so-called "Dutch-Irish sandwich," to evade corporate taxes. Who benefits from HSBC having a reported 350 staff members listed as Dutch employees, notwithstanding that they are certainly not working in the Netherlands ?
It is axiomatic that anyone who is in command must lead by example. By artfully concealing the ownership of his wealth through Panama entities, Mr. Gulliver is doing precisely what his Swiss private bank assisted their American clients in doing; obscuring beneficial ownership within a tax haven shell company, and hiding inside a strict bank secrecy, non-cooperative jurisdiction. No wonder regulators are so busy these days.
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