Bank staff names
HSBC transfers more data to the US
HSBC bank employees, who dealt with wealthy US clients, apparently had no possibility to prevent the transfer (Keystone)
The Swiss branch of bank HSBC has confirmed it handed further documents to the United States containing the names of staff, details of business trips, internal reports, phone calls and emails in connection with tax evasion investigations.
A spokesperson confirmed a report in Tuesday’s edition of the Geneva-based Le Temps newspaper. He added all affected staff had been informed and that no client data had been handed over.
The bank employees, who dealt with wealthy US clients, apparently had no possibility to prevent the transfer.
The spokesman said the bank had reduced the number of business trips to the US to minimise legal risks for its staff.
A first set of data was delivered by five major banks to US authorities in April, when, following pressure from the US government, Bern authorised Swiss banks to deliver the names of their employees to the US authorities. The data had to be encoded.
Since then, some 10,000 files have been relayed to the US Department of Justice containing written correspondence and notes of telephone calls made between bank staff and US clients. Some of this data has been used to identify specific bank staff.
Swiss bank employees, fearful of how the decision to hand over data could affect them, have begun legal proceedings against banks and the government in an effort to find out what personal data was transferred to the US.
Eleven Swiss banks are currently under investigation in the US and there is pressure too from Europe where burdened taxpayers want scalps after numerous banking scandals.