The Newest Investigation
One of the world’s largest dirty money scandals known as Suisse Secrets has exposed the hidden wealth of clients involved in criminal activities like torture, drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering etcetera. The extraordinary leak of data from Credit Suisse has exposed how the bank held hundreds of millions of dollars for notable high-profile individuals like heads of state, intelligence officials, and sanctioned businessmen.
The leak exposed human traffickers from the Philippines, a Hong Kong stock exchange boss who was jailed for bribery, a billionaire who ordered the murder of his Lebanese pop star girlfriend and the list goes on. Notable among them are Nervis Gerardo, Rano Ramatova, the Guta Family, James Soong Chu-yu, Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, Rodoljub Radulovic, Antonio Velardo. The list also included King Abdullah II of Jordon.
This international investigation of the wealthiest and most important banks follows the Panama Papers in 2016, Paradise Paper in 2017 and the latest Pandora Papers.
An Infamous Legacy
The Swiss Bank has a legacy of secrecy and confidentiality to the point that country has nurtured and even advertised the discretion of its bankers for centuries. As James Bond says in “The World Is Not Enough,” “If you can’t trust a Swiss banker, what’s the world come to?”. However, the country dismisses and denies such stereotypes as outdated, particularly amidst the leaks.
In a self-described act of whistleblowing, banking data was leaked anonymously to a German newspaper Suddeustche Zeitung stating “I believe that Swiss Banking laws are immoral”. This self-described act of whistleblowing leaked data of more than 18k bank accounts, collectively holding more than $100 billion.
Furthermore, the German newspaper shared the data with well-known nonprofit journalism groups, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and 46 other news organizations around the world. The data covers accounts that were open from the 1940s until the 2010s. Article 47 of a 1934 Swiss banking law has made it a criminal offence to disclose the identity of clients and any breach would risk 5 years of imprisonment.
Pakistanis in the Suisse Secrets
The Suisse Secrets included dozens of corrupt government officials, criminals as well as human rights abusers. Credit Suisse maintained relationships with individuals who either earned money illegally or were involved in crimes for many years. Data from the Swiss Bank revealed information about 600 accounts linked to 1400 Pakistanis with the average maximum balance held in accounts of Pakistanis to be around 4.42M Swiss francs equivalent to around 993M PKR.
A report highlights the names of Pakistan Army Generals, Government officials, and journalists. The notable names among Army Generals are General Akhtar Abdul Rehman and General Zahid Ali Akbar. According to the investigation, General Akhtar’s three sons have also been named in the Suisse Secrets for opening Swiss accounts during the Soviet-Afghan war in the mid-80s.
Punjab’s Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht and his brother Omar Sheharyar maintained an account for 11 months from 2011 to 2012, and the sum was around 2,765,038 Swiss Francs equivalent to 583,749,292.48 PKR. Senator Gulzar and his sons Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan and Senator Ammar Ahmad Khan had a family account opened at Credit Suisse in 2008 which held 9,786,955 Swiss Francs equivalent to 2,068,529,018.50 PKR.
Rana Mubashir is among the prominent journalists who opened accounts at Credit Suisse. Anchorperson Rana Mubashir and his wife Irum Mubashir open a bank account in Credit Suisse on October 3, 2008. The account had a maximum balance of more than one million dollars in May 2010. The account was closed on Nov 29, 2011.
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