Whistleblower Nicholas Wilson has alleged that HSBC, Great Britain’s largest bank, has committed fraud totaling in £1 billion throughout the last three decades. He also claims that despite his allegations being backed by officials and members of the government, the British media has failed to report on his story.
Wilson’s whistleblower claims allege that through its subsidiary bank, HFC Bank, HSBC has been wrongfully charging high-street customers. As a former employee of Weightman’s law firm, Wilson was responsible for collecting charges from HFC customers with personal loans and store cards from retailers such as Dixons, Currys and B&Q. He noticed the alleged illegal charges in 2003, when he reported them to an HFC lawyer and then refused to work on his firm’s HFC account.
Wilson claims that the average amount of added charges was £1,500 for each account. He also said that the charges were added immediately once an account was placed in default, even when no work had been done.
When Wilson reported the alleged fraud to the authorities, he was fired from his job. Through his own investigation, he determined that the bank had overcharged £44 million in one year alone. He stated that the overcharging practice has been carried out for more than 30 years, and estimates the total amount of fraudulent charges at about £1 billion. He said the fraud has affected accounts of more than 500,000 customers.
Britain’s Law Society and Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have both confirmed the bank has added fraudulent charges to accounts, but no actions have been taken against the bank. In recent years, some members of the media have commented that outlets have intentionally avoided covering HSBC’s alleged illegal activity in tax avoidance schemes. Research conducted by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed determined that HSBC has a history of using its large advertising budgets as leverage.
U.S. law protects individuals who come forward to report the fraudulent activities of a corporation. For more information on these issues, speak with Steve Kardell at Whistleblower Law for Managers.