The U.S. Congress’ primary ethics watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), has been asked to investigate whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ offshore investments could have created conflicts of interest, following revelations from the Paradise Papers.
Democratic Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who earlier joined four other senators in asking the Department of Commerce Inspector General to investigate possible conflicts of interest arising from Ross’ investments, requested the director of the independent congressional watchdog investigate the matter as well.
HSBC Holding PLC agreed Tuesday to pay $352 million to settle charges that it helped wealthy clients of its private Swiss bank evade taxes in France.
The investigation that resulted in the settlement was based on data found by French authorities in 2009 when they searched the home of Herve Falciani, a former IT employee of the Swiss bank who fled to France from Geneva. Swiss prosecutors, concerned that he had information from thousands of bank files from 2006 and 2007, had requested the search.
The same data was later obtained by ICIJ via the French newspaper Le Monde and resulted in the Swiss Leaks investigation. The data, which covered accounts holding more than $100 billion, disclosed the bank’s dealings with clients, including those engaged in behavior that included tax evasion, bribery and arms dealing.
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From Richard Engel on Assignment:
Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, looks at how a Panama building project bearing the Trump name became a hot spot for illegal money world wide to be cleaned through real estate transactions.