If you watched the movie Jason Bourne series the first movie The Bourne Identity, one of the early scenes was Jason going into a Swiss bank to get to his safety deposit box. Jason had money, passports and left a gun in the safety deposit box, however to arrive at the box there was lots to security procedures to get through in this pristine looking bank. What other secrets were to found in the bank?
In an article by Jesse Drucker and Ben Hubbard of the New York Times News Service, there are reasons why the famous Davos World Economic Forum is held in Switzerland. The Swiss banks closely guard the identifies of some of the planet’s richest people and clues into how they accumulated their fortunes.
A self described whistle blower leaked data on 18,000 bank accounts holding more than $100 billion to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper shared the data with a non-profit journalism group, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and 46 newspapers around the world including the New York Times.
The data covers accounts from the 1940’s to 2015 but not the bank’s current operations.
The leak shows that Credit Suisse opened accounts for and continued to serve not only the ultra wealthy but also people whose problematic backgrounds would have been obvious to anyone who ran their names through a search engine.
For those who treat the government accounts as their private accounts and steal money, the Credit Suisse took their money. The example of people from the Venezuela’s oil company had $270 million; Zimbabwean businessman; the sons of former Egyptian President had $200 million; General Akhtar Abdur Rahman Khan from Pakistan helped funnel billions in dollars to fight the Russians in Afghanistan send money to Switzerland. It seems if you have money, the banks welcome you.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, there are multiple countries that have bank secrecy laws and some of the money that flows was not earned money, some of it is stolen money, some of it money that the owners do not want to pay tax on, some of it is corporate money, some of its intelligence money, it all gets comingled. If you own shares in a company doing business around the world, invariably some of it goes through tax haven countries to benefit the company. If they are exposed in the media, would you be okay with it. If yes, then continue to hold, if not find alternatives.
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.