In the wake of information contained in the Panama Papers,Credit Suisse GroupAG and HSBC HoldingsPlc were quick to reject allegations that they actively used shellcompanies to help clients evade taxes, Reuters reported April 5.
The more than 11 million records, which were leaked from Panamanian law firmMossack Fonseca, detailed the widespread use of offshore paper companies createdby global banks onbehalf of their clients and exposed hidden financial dealings of a number ofhigh-profile politicians and public figures.
At a media briefing in Hong Kong, Credit Suisse CEO TidjaneThiam said the bank only encourages the use of offshore financial structureswhen there is a "legitimate economic purpose," Reuters noted.
"Whenever there is a structure with a third-partybeneficiary we insist to know the identity of that beneficiary," Thiamsaid.
Gareth Hewett, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for HSBC, saidthe leaked documents pre-dated the "significant" reform of thelender's business model, Reuters added.
In May 2014, Credit Suisse agreed to pay in U.S. fines and pleadedguilty to charges related to offshore tax evasion violations.
HSBC in 2012 agreed to pay U.S. authorities $1.92 billion to settle allegationsof inadequate compliance with anti-money laundering and sanctions laws.