A number of Middle Eastern businessmen and leaders are on the client list of HSBC’s Swiss branch.
Data leaked by a former HSBC employee has revealed the secret account details of more than 100,000 clients of the bank’s branch in Switzerland. These include government officials, entertainment and sporting figures, as well as business moguls.
Herve Falciani, the former employee who became a whistleblower, leaked the files containing information about the amounts found in these accounts and the numbers of clients from each country, including Middle Eastern nations, among other information listed below.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism (ICIJ) has released the Swiss Leaks project, which includes all the leaks on its website. Below is a list of the data released about clients from the Middle East.
It is important to note that clients from a given country in the Middle East are not necessarily nationals of that country. Moreover, there are legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts and trusts. It is not intended to suggest or imply that any person, company or other entity included in the ICIJ Swiss Leaks interactive application has broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. If you find an error in the database please get in touch with us.
According to Swiss Leaks, clients from the UAE associated with Swiss bank accounts totalled 1,126. The Gulf country is ranked the 22nd among countries with the largest dollar amounts, with approximately $3.5 billion. Between 1969 and 2006, 902 clients from the Emirates opened 902 client accounts in Swiss banks, the report revealed.
Saudi Arabia is ranked the 11th among countries with the largest dollar amounts, ICIJ reported, with a total of approximately $5.8bn belonging to 1,504 clients. The leaks revealed that between 1969 and 2006, 1,330 client accounts were opened for people from the Kingdom.
Oman ranked 72nd with approximately $300 million belonging to 276 clients, reported ICIJ. It was revealed that 252 client accounts were opened for people from Oman between 1969 and 2006. Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of the Sultanate, was revealed to be among HSBC’s clients, according to the leaks.
Clients from Bahrain totalled 147, with a collective sum of $196.1m, putting the country in the 81st spot, states ICIJ. The leaked files also revealed that 111 client accounts were opened between 1969 and 2006. Swiss Leaks found that Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was among the highlighted clients from Bahrain.
Clients from Qatar totalled 109, with a collective sum of $328m, according to Swiss Leaks, which put the Gulf country in the 70th spot. Between 1969 and 2006, it was revealed that 92 client accounts were opened, ICIJ reported.
A total of 475 clients hailed from Kuwait, with a collective amount of roughly $1.1bn found in their accounts, securing the 42nd spot for the country, according to the leaked files. Additionally, it was found that 353 client accounts were opened between 1969 and 2006, ICIJ reported.
Yemen took the 83rd spot, with a total of 70 clients, and collective amounts reaching approximately $193.3 million, the leaks revealed. Between 1973 and 2006, 85 accounts were reportedly opened for clients from Yemen.
Clients from Turkey totalled 3,105, who collectively deposited a total of $3.5bn in their HSBC Switzerland accounts, hence the country ranks 23rd among states with the largest dollar amounts, according to the leaked Swiss files. The data showed that 2,711 client accounts were opened between 1955 and 2006.
Meanwhile, from Israel, a total of 6,554 clients were revealed, giving the country the sixth spot among countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files, with a sum totalling $10bn. The leaks also revealed that clients from Israel opened 6,222 accounts in the bank between 1922 and 2006.
In Lebanon, Swiss Leaks revealed that the country ranks 12th with 2,998 HSBC Switzerland clients, who collectively deposited approximately $4.8bn in their accounts. The bank has opened 2,672 client accounts for clients from Lebanon between 1969 and 2006, ICIJ reported.
Clients from neighbouring Syria totalled 690, collectively having a sum of approximately $1.3bn, and securing the 40th spot for the country, Swiss Leaks revealed. Between 1970 and 2006, a total of 735 client accounts were opened for people from Syria, data showed. Rami Makhlouf, the wealthy and powerful cousin of Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad was found to be among highlighted clients, according to the information obtained from ICIJ. Makhlouf is regarded as the country’s richest man, and was allegedly worth $5bn prior to Syria’s civil war, thanks to his control of several monopolies and semi-monopolies in several sectors including telecommunications, real estate, oil and construction, among others.
With 679 clients, Jordan came in 49th place among countries with the largest dollar amounts. The total amount recorded within HSBC Switzerland for clients from Jordan reached $842.8m. Between 1963 and 2006, the files revealed that 494 client accounts were opened for people from Jordan, and the kingdom’s current monarch, King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein was found to be among the revealed clients.
Iran had 573 clients depositing a total sum of about $1.5bn in the Swiss bank, putting the country in the 38th spot. Between 1969 and 2006, 553 client accounts were reportedly opened for people from Iran.
Iraq, which took the 62nd spot, has 243 clients collectively owning approximately $514.9m. According to the data, 262 client accounts were opened for people from Iraq between 1922 and 2006.
Egypt ranked 20th among countries with the largest dollar amounts in the leaked Swiss files, with a sum of nearly $3.5bn belonging to 700 clients. ICIJ reported that 806 client accounts were opened between 1970 and 2006 from Egypt. Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the country’s foreign minister of trade and industry was among clients from Egypt, data showed. He was in office from 2004 to 2011, when former long-term president, Husni Mubarak, was ousted following widespread protests.
Sudan ranked 96th, with a total of 62 clients and a collective sum of almost $131m. According to Swiss leaks, 96 client accounts opened for people from Sudan between 1974 and 2006.
Clients from Morocco totalled 1,068, with a total sum approaching $1.6bn, putting the North African country in the 37th spot. Between 1958 and 2006, 1,350 client accounts were opened in HSBC Switzerland for people from the North African kingdom, the data revealed. King Mohammed VI was revealed as one of the clients of HSBC Switzerland, ISIJ reported. In 2014, Forbes estimated the Moroccan king’s fortune at $2.1bn. Another popular client revealed through the leaks was Gad Elmaleh, a Moroccan-French actor best known for his comedy roles.
Algeria took the 55th spot, having a total of 440 clients who collectively have approximately $671.1m. According to the files, 590 client accounts were opened for people from Algeria, between 1958 and 2006, ICIJ reported.
Tunisia ranks in at 59with a total of 256 clients, who collectively have $554.2m deposited into 349 client accounts that were opened for people from Tunisia between 1969 and 2006. Belhassan Trabelsi, the brother-in-law of Tunisia’s ousted president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali was found among the highlighted clients from Tunisia.
With 190 clients depositing a collective amount of approximately $522.9m in 268 client accounts (opened between 1969 and 2006), Libya came in 60th place.
Last but not least, Swiss Leaks revealed that Palestine ranked 91st, with a total of 55 clients and a collective sum of $148.9m. Between 1972 and 2006, a total of 57 client accounts were reported to have been opened for people from Palestine.
Other highlighted clients revealed through the leaks include Nigeria’s business magnet, Aliko Dangote, American Hollywood actor, Christian Michael Slater, and Arlette Barbary de Langlade Ricci, the heiress to the fortune of perfume giant, Nina Ricci. Arlette was charged with tax evasion by the French authorities in 2011.
Political figures from the Middle East, revealed by the Swiss Leaks project as HSBC Switzerland clients, included Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Al Saud, who served as the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, among other regional leaders.
Entertainment and fashion personalities were also featured in the leaks, including Belgian-born American fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg, best known for her wrap dresses; Uruguayan footballer, Diego Forlan, who played for top international clubs such as Atletico de Madrid and Manchester United; and Elle MacPherson, a model, entertainer and entrepreneur who previously made the covers of well-known magazines, including Elle, Sports Illustrated and Time. Spanish Formula One driver, Fernando Alonso, was also revealed as an HSBC client by the Swiss Leaks project.