National Economic Criminal
Chamber revoked as "premature" the dismissal of 20 former Argentine and foreign executives of HSBC Bank, and ordered
a deeper investigation
alleged tax evasion maneuvers
through money laundering abroad for clients of that entity in the country.
"The investigation promoted to elucidate the real scope of the activities that, from HSBC Bank Argentina SA and the local representative offices of HSBC Bank USA NA and HSBC Private Bank Suisse SA, could not have been carried out around the undeclared assets of Argentine residents [before the collection agency)", upheld the ruling of Chamber B of the Court of Appeals, according to the Télam agency.
Chamber members Roberto Hornos and Carolina Robiglio filed an
appeal against the complaints filed by AFIP-DGI
, the Financial Information Unit, and the prosecutor's office in the case in which it is being investigated whether there was aggravated tax evasion.
In the sentence, they revoked the dismissals by considering the decision made by the first instance judge in economic criminal matters, María Verónica Straccia,
in December 2021, “premature”.
The Court ordered to deepen the investigation on deposits of Argentines "that at some point would have been credited in the accounts of the entity based in the Swiss Confederation, and the incidence that those activities could have had on the course of the aforementioned assets".
Origin of the complaint
The complaint was filed in 2014 by the then head of the AFIP, Ricardo Echegaray, in relation to "various members of the board of directors of HSBC Bank Argentina, who allegedly colluded with authorities of the local representation houses of the HSBC Private Bank ( SUISSE) SA and HSBC Bank USA NA, would have organized their business development in such a way as to enable
a parallel, clandestine and anti-regulatory means of banking activity
, aimed at channeling the wealth of certain elite clients"
Specifically, reference was made to 4,040 accounts "of HSBC Switzerland clients" of Argentine nationality.
Also to "operations abroad, specifically in the Swiss Confederation, which would have set up an area of administration of significant funds previously hidden from the national control authorities, particularly the AFIP."
The Court of Appeals concluded that the dismissal "is at least premature" and that is why it should be revoked, because, for example, records collected in a labor lawsuit alluding to "black" payments as a result of
alleged maneuvers were not analyzed.
According to the chambers, the dismissals were issued on the basis of "information of a formal nature", without realizing that the central characteristic of the eventual maneuvers is the concealment of information and the absence of registration.
The decision to reverse the dismissal fell to the former head of the Argentine subsidiary, Gabriel Martino, former directors Miguel Ángel Estevez, Marcelo Degrossi, Antonio Losada, Rubén Silvarredonda, Martín Eraso, Juan Cuccia, Carlos Basílico, Moira Frehner, Alberto Tawil , Miguel Abadi, David Goldfarb, Beatriz Sánchez and Simón Martín
Also about Youssef Assaad Nasr, Patrick Flynn, Trevor Gander, Alexander Flockhart, Alan Pollack and Horacio Divinsky.
The AFIP complaint originated from the so-called "Swiss leaks", a leak of information from the bank's Swiss subsidiary.
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