Keyword: tax evasion
Earlier this month it was revealed that French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chief executive of luxury goods firm LVMH, the wealthiest person in France and the fourth wealthiest worldwide, has applied for dual Belgian nationality. The French conservative opposition was quick to cite it as an example of the flight of capital that will follow higher taxes the government is to impose on the country’s top income earners, while President François Hollande decried Arnault's lack of patriotism. Mediapart Editor-in-Chief Edwy Plenel sets out here how tax evasion has become a colossal and insitutionalised business at the centre of the economy. Fighting it has never been more urgent, yet little effort - if any - is being made to prevent it or to sanction those who are bleeding society of vital resources.
The Swiss authorities on Tuesday confirmed Mediapart’s exclusive report that a former HSBC employee who exposed tens of thousands of tax-evading accounts held with the bank has been arrested in Spain pending extradition to Switzerland, where he is wanted for breaching banking secrecy. But the extradition for trial of Hervé Falciani, 40, a former Geneva-based IT engineer for HSBC who holds dual French and Italian nationality, could lead to a far larger, wide-ranging scandal of major repercussions. For it is unknown whether he has kept hidden copies of his files of 127,000 accounts held with HSBC, which the French authorities are accused of having previously suppressed. The multi-billion-dollar question is whether the Swiss would finally allow his evidence to emerge in public.Valentine Oberti and Karl Laske report on the web of intrigue surrounding Falciani and the British bank which was last week slammed by a US Senate investigation for having served as a money-laundering conduit for "drug kingpins and rogue nations".