Leaked documents from HSBC’s Swiss bank have revealed trade-based money laundering in the diamond trade.

The documents also suggest the bank helped wealthy individuals evade taxation and concealed large sums of money for people facing allegations of serious wrongdoing.

Illicit diamonds
The files show HSBC provided banking facilities to a group of African traders involved in illicit diamond trading.

Some documents show that HSBC provided general accounts for directors of Omega Diamonds, a Belgian firm named in a 2001 UN report on conflict diamonds.

Two directors’ accounts contained at least £860,000 and £1.75 million respectively. A third Omega shareholder was linked to general accounts with values totalling £47 million.

The company paid US$195 million to Belgian tax authorities in March 2013 after being found to have shifted profits from the import of mis-valued diamonds from Congolese mines and Angola into Dubai.

The documents also reveal that HSBC provided services to Emmanuel Shallop, jailed for six years by an Antwerp court for importing illicit Angolan conflict diamonds in 2001-02.