Panama Partners in Crime - David Malone.

“We have broken no laws and cooperated with the government at all times.”

Variations of that statement seem to be the default defence of everyone from bankers to politicians when their names come up in the Panama Papers.

In the UK the latest to resort to some version of it, was first Downing Street on behalf of the Prime Minister David Cameron, and then HSBC on behalf of it’s notorious Swiss subsidiary. The former because his father who lived in the UK, set up an off-shore company which has never paid any taxes in the UK, and the latter because it turns out HSBC has once again been handling dirty money, this time holding and moving money for off-shore companies owned by relatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Now HSBC is a well known money laundering bank. They have been indicted and convicted of money laundering so many times in so many different countries. The best known case was in 2012 when HSBC were found guilty of laundering drug money out of Mexico. HSBC were tried in the US and fined $1.9 billion. They paid and said how sorry they were, and their group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver accepted responsibility for their past mistakes, but assured everyone they had now put all that behind them and had even,

"spent $290m on improving its systems to prevent money laundering"

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