Mother of heist! Ireland ranks No 19 in Swiss leak files

9 Feb 2015725 Views

Ireland ranks No 19 in what is considered the biggest banking leak in history. The files were originally leaked by Hervé Falciani, an IT expert working at HSBC’s Swiss bank.

The leaked files, which can be explored online, reveal the use of Swiss bank accounts by public figures including footballers, actors, politicians and business owners. Celebrities implicated in the leak include actor Christian Slater, singer Phil Collins and model Elle Macpherson.

The documents were published by The Guardian, Le Monde, the BBC and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

It is understood that the scheme at its height hid more than US$120bn in assets.

The files were originally hacked by Hervé Falciani, an IT expert working at HSBC’s Swiss bank.

He fled to France but wasn’t extradited back to Switzerland because of fears he would reveal the identities of thousands of French tax evaders.

HSBC is now facing criminal investigations around the world, including France, the US and Belgium.

350 Irish people had US$3.5bn in Swiss bank accounts

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According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Ireland ranks No 19 among the countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files.

Irish individuals had US$3.5bn spread across 892 bank accounts involving 350 clients.

The maximum amount of money associated with a client connected to Ireland was US$731.5m.

Ireland’s GDP per capita was US$61.2k in 2007, the top 10pc held 25.2pc of income in 2007, according to the World Bank.

Swiss bank account image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years