From the BBC in Jersey:
“HSBC is closing all accounts in Jersey for customers living in the UK, as part of industry-wide efforts to check identity and address details, to ensure off-shore accounts aren’t being used to hide money. Jersey’s Chief Minister Ian Gorst insists that banks have to comply with legislation.”
So few words, so much to say about them.
We have at least six questions.
1.Is HSBC here responding to political heat that resulted from the recent HSBC scandal, and finally making a tacit admission that Jersey has been used to facilitate tax evasion by UK customers?
2. If the Chief Minister says that banks have to comply with legislation, then why only now? Why didn’t they comply earlier?
3. Why only ‘customers in the UK?’ Are British people uniquely prone to tax evasion?
4. Would Geoff Cook, the head of Jersey Finance (the industry lobbying arm) like to say anything about any of this? Either this new HSBC Jersey story, or about the wider, sprawling HSBC scandal. For the record, his resumé states:
“Previous to his role at Jersey Finance, he was Head of Wealth Management for HSBC Bank Plc, based in London.”
Note: the HSBC scandal emanated from the, er, Wealth Management section of its business
5. Is HSBC the only bank in Jersey facing these risks? If so, how so?
6. Is Jersey the only jurisdiction, apart from Switzerland, where there’s a risk for HSBC? This tweet below, (leaving aside the fact that this is about ‘accounts’ rather than ‘subsidiaries’) seems apt.