Saturday, June 16, 2012

A taste of their own medicine

After the expenses scandal a couple of years ago, the few actual convictions belied the fact that the entire body of our lords and masters were engaged in widespread fraud, in a scandalous conspiracy against the taxpayers who they are supposed to serve.

Further, all three major parties in this country have proposed spying on our every communication for no good reason at all, something that surely breaks the Data Protection Act's provision that all data held should not be excessive.

Given these two vignettes, it strikes me as being utterly hilarious that one of these corrupt bastards should complain about HSBC demanding that they hand over "sensitive information" in order to prove that they are not corrupt.
HSBC has targeted MPs with demands for sensitive private information as part of a crackdown by the bank on "politically exposed" customers. The move has left some feeling they will lose their banking facilities unless they comply.

A Labour MP who is a longstanding customer of HSBC contacted Guardian Money to say he had been asked by the bank to disclose information about his finances, including accounts he has with other banks, and his "sources of wealth".

At first he thought it may be a "phishing" scam, where fraudsters try to obtain people's private details by masquerading as their bank or an official body, but the letter was genuine, and was followed up earlier this month by a phone call. The MP, who declined to be named, says he explained to the bank that the information being sought was "inappropriate", and when he asked what would happen if he didn't co-operate, the suggestion was that his account may be closed.

The answer, it transpired, is that HSBC has decided the MP is in a category of high-risk customers known as "politically exposed persons", or Peps. Even though, according to HM Revenue & Customs, he definitely isn't one of those. And he hasn't been singled out for special (mis)treatment. It is understood that every MP who banks with HSBC is being quizzed – and, presumably, other public figures, too.

Aaaaaaaaahahahahahahaaaaaaa! Ahahaha. Ahaha. Ha!

How nice it is to see these thieving, snooping, authoritarian arseholes getting a taste of their own medicine!

But, of course, on a more serious note, you might be wondering what the fuss is about? After all, surely an MP is a politically exposed person—how could they not be?*

Luckily, retired international lawyer Tom Paine can supply us with the answer to that little conundrum.
When practising abroad as an international lawyer, I often had to raise with clients dealing with companies associated with local politicians the delicate issue of money laundering. You can imagine how the politicians concerned reacted when informed that English legislation required enquiries as to their past, and contractual provisions as to their possible future, misconduct. I rather tired of apologising for it. I can't quantify how much business was lost because of these laws, but let's face it, the counterparties had other, easier choices.

As I never had to deal with UK politicians, I did not realise until this morning that they had exempted themselves. Here is the HMRC guidance mentioned in The Guardian article (my emphasis);

In some situations you must carry out 'enhanced due diligence'. These situations are:
  • When the customer isn't physically present when you carry out identification checks.
  • When you enter into a business relationship with a 'politically exposed person'. Typically, a politically exposed person is an overseas member of parliament, a head of state or government or a government minister.
    Note that a UK politician isn't a politically exposed person.
  • Any other situation where there's a higher risk of money laundering.

Yes, that's right: as with the tax on benefits in kind, our lords and masters have exempted themselves from the rules which apply to others.

Once again, that old saw of "one rule for us and a different one for them" seems utterly appropriate.

This must stop. An MP is quite obviously a politically exposed person: further, MPs have proved themselves to be a body of people who are entirely untrustworthy every respect—those who are not actively thieves or liars are criminally stupid.

So, when this anonymous Labour MP whinges that his "financial integrity" is being questioned, my response is "well, whose fault is that? Cry me a fucking river."

And, given their plans to spy on everything we do, when this same anonymous Labour MP then asks...
"Why should they want this information, unless there's some indication that there is something amiss?"

... my reply involves motes, beams and "how the fuck do you like them apples, you totalitarian piece of shit?"
So, bravo to HSBC for giving me an excellent belly laugh this morning.

And perhaps this anonymous Labour MP might take a lesson from this; perhaps this Labour MP will drop his anonymity and start campaigning vociferously against the Coalition's plans to monitor our communications?

Or, more likely, he will continue to complain in the Tea Room and quietly continue to use his expenses to steal money from his constituents.

Either way, I am thrilled that he has been insulted and inconvenienced—it is the very least that he deserves.


Anonymous said...

How about a bill in which, ALL the privileges accorded to MP, apply to us, the great unwashed? Let's start a campaign.

Anonymous said...

Read most AML legislation around the world - the local pollies almost always exempt themselves from being classified as a PEP.....wonder why?

john in cheshire said...

The members of our political class are just sickening. They don't deserve any sympathy, compassion, respect or, especially special exemptions to any legislation. I just hope that some day before I die, I see most of them given the treatment that they so deserve.

Rich Tee said...

My colleague at the next desk at work has to do this job. It is a requirement of the Proceeds of Crime Act I think.

I didn't know that British politicians had exempted themselves from it though.

We don't like doing it, it is one of many new jobs that we have started to have to do in the past ten years because of government legislation.

John M said...

Banks have a legal duty to ensure that due diligence is carried out where this is a risk of corruption. Bank staff can go to prison if they DON'T undertake these checks.

Perhaps Mr MP should familiarise himself with the law, and Sarbanes-Oxley for example.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"when this same anonymous Labour MP then asks...why should they want this information, unless there's some indication that there is something amiss?"

My instant response would be "if you've got nothing to hide..." and so on.

They don't like it up 'em, do they?

Anonymous said...

Bank accounts of all Police and Secret Agents to ne made available for inspection by the public in the same manner

NHS Fail Wail

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