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PAC should investigate HSBC scandal – Adams

10 February, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called for HSBC scandal to be investigated by the Dáil Public accounts committee.

He also questioned Minister of Finance Michael Noonan’s appointment of former HSBC Chief Executive, Michael Geoghegan as a senior adviser to the Government on the operation of NAMA.

Gerry Adams said:

“Amajor global conspiracy assisting a wealthy elite, including individuals from this State, to conceal wealth and avoid tax, was publicised at the weekend. The Swiss branch of HSBC advised clients on how to keep money hidden from State authorities and offered deals to help tax dodgers stay ahead of the law.”

“Irish money held in this bank, on which due tax was not paid, is ultimately money taken from ordinary citizens here. Today, 530 of our citizens are lying on hospital trolleys across this State. 50 of these are in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda in my own constituency. So, this is money taken from Irish hospitals, schools, and other vital public services.”

“The Swiss HSBC accounts contained €3.1 billion linked to 350 clients associated with Ireland. Yet, only 20 Irish account holders have since made settlements with the Revenue Commissioners worth just over €4.5 million.”

“Unlike the arrests of anti-Water Charge activists, there were no arrests, no early morning raids.  In the US, France, Belgium and Argentina this bank now faces criminal investigations. But not here, the best small country in the world in which to avoid tax if you’re wealthy.”

“I believe this scandal is a matter for the Public Accounts Committee to investigate.”

Speaking earlier in the Dáil, Mr Adams asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny why the Revenue Commissioners did not pursue a case against HSBC for facilitating tax evasion by Irish citizens.”

“He also pointed out that Michael Geoghegan, Chief Executive of HSBC at the time that its Swiss operation facilitated tax evasion was subsequently appointed by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, as an Adviser to the Government on the operation of NAMA and asked whether  Minister Noonan ask Mr Geoghegan about HSBC prior to his appointment to NAMA.”

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