Clinton Donors Implicated In Swiss Tax Scheme
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign may have suffered a setback with the news that several major donors to the Clinton Foundation have used Swiss banks as tax havens.
The Guardian reported Tuesday that, “Leaked files from HSBC’s Swiss banking division reveal the identities of seven donors to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation with accounts in Geneva,” who together donated as much as $81 million to the Clinton Foundation.
The files were originally obtained by a former HSBC employee, who turned them over to French authorities to investigate several years ago. Recently though, those authorities made them available to several international news outlets, who then reviewed the documents before releasing them to the public on Monday.
The leaks reveal that between 2005 and 2007, HSBC’s Swiss division helped tens of thousands of customers—including “international criminals, corrupt businessmen, and other high-risk individuals”—shield nearly $120 billion in collective assets from foreign taxation.
Among those listed as having accounts with the bank are Frank Giustra, “a Canadian mining magnate and one of the [Clinton] Foundation’s biggest financial backers,” and Richard Caring, “a British retail magnate who, the bank’s internal records show, used his tax-free Geneva account to transfer $1 million into the New York-based foundation.” (RELATED: University Contract Details Hillary Clinton Speech Demands)
Also implicated were Jeffrey Epstein, “the hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender who once flew the former president on his private jet,” and Denise Rich, the ex-wife of the late Marc Rich, “who fled to Switzerland in 1983 after being indicted by US authorities for tax evasion, fraud, and racketeering.”
Rounding out the list, ex-Formula One racing driver Michael Schumacher, billionaire businessman Eli Broad, and French hedge-fund manager Arpad Busson were the other Clinton Foundation donors found to have Swiss accounts.
“It is not unlawful for U.S. or other non-Swiss citizens to hold accounts in Geneva,” the Guardian points out, adding that “there is no evidence any of the Clinton donors with Geneva accounts evaded tax.”
However, with Hillary widely seen as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, the connections raise questions about “whether the former secretary of state’s focus on wealth inequality sits uncomfortably with the close relationships she and her husband have nurtured with some of the world’s richest individuals.” (RELATED: Why Should You Vote for Hillary Clinton? Because it’s Her Turn!)
“The most colorful anecdote” from the leaked files, according to The Daily Mail, involves the $1 million donation from Caring, which was apparently made “to get [Bill] Clinton to a costume party in Russia.”
HSBC’s notes on Caring’s account contain an instruction to “transfer [$1 million] to Bill Clinton’s Foundation as a contribution following his involvement in the charity function,” which turned out to be a costume party held at St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace that Clinton attended dressed as a Russian general. (RELATED: Does Hillary Clinton Have Brain Damage?)
The Clinton Foundation declined the Guardian’s request for comment, but did release a statement saying it has “strong donor integrity and transparency practices that go well beyond what is required of US charities, including the full disclosure of all of our donors.”
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