‘Swissleaks’: Karekin II’s account leaked

Account data of around 100 thousand clients revealed as more details of the leaked HSBC files emerge. The account of Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians is also among the revealed accounts.

According to reports of the BBC and Le Monde, based on documents unearthed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), HSBC Switzerland is alleged to have assisted its wealthy clients in tax evasion in 10 countries.

According to the documents referred to as “Swissleaks”, there are 11,235 accounts from Switzerland, 9,187 accounts from France, 8,844 accounts from England, 8,667 accounts from Brazil, 7,499 accounts from Italy, 6,554 accounts from Israel, 4,183 accounts from the USA, 3,625 accounts from Argentina, 3,105 accounts from Turkey and 3,002 accounts from Belgium at the headquarters of the bank in Switzerland.

The Swissleaks documents were revealed through the collaborative investigation of 157 journalists from 47 countries.

“The Catholicosate is tax exempt”

The ICIJ site has so far revealed the accounts of 64 clients from among 100 thousand accounts. The list of accounts includes famous names such as the Jordanian King Abdullah II, Ecuadorian politician Alvaro Noboa, diamond trader Dan Azoumi, and Formula 1 racing driver Fernando Alonso. One name is particularly striking: His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Karekin II was first listed as a HSBC client in 2000, and his account held as much as $1,1 million in 2006/2007. A spokesman for the Catholicosate told ICIJ that the account in question was “opened by His Holiness Karekin II’s predecessor for the benefit of the Church and its charities. This account was transferred to His Holiness Karekin II Nersissian upon the death of his predecessor to be used for the same purposes.” The spokesman added, “The Catholicosate of the Armenian church is a national religious institution and is not subject to any taxes”.


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Karekin II