Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Bill and Hillary Clinton on stage during an event sponsored by their family foundation. (Photo: AP)

Bill and Hillary Clinton on stage during an event sponsored by their family foundation. (Photo: AP)

Big Backers of Clinton Foundation Found in Leaked Swiss Bank Files: Report

Whether legal or not, Hillary Clinton's deep connections with the planet's financial elite may cast a shadow of her attempts to play the populist in the 2016 election

Jon Queally

Large financial backers of the Clinton Foundation charitable fund have been found among those named in the trove of leaked documents from a Swiss division of HSBC bank this week, raising questions about the integrity of such individuals and what it says about the relationships they have with the powerful Clinton family.

According to the Guardian newspaper, which broke the story, on Tuesday:

Leaked files from HSBC’s Swiss banking division reveal the identities of seven donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation with accounts in Geneva.

They include Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate and one of the foundation’s biggest financial backers, and Richard Caring, the British retail magnate who, the bank’s internal records show, used his tax-free Geneva account to transfer $1m into the New York-based foundation.

Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over growing economic inequality in the US and is expected to make the issue a cornerstone of her widely anticipated presidential campaign in 2016. However, political observers are increasingly asking whether the former secretary of state’s focus on wealth inequality sits uncomfortably with the close relationships she and her husband have nurtured with some of the world’s richest individuals.

The newspaper notes that it is perfectly legal for citizens from around the world—including those from the U.S. and Canada—to hold bank accounts in Geneva and reports there is "no evidence any of the Clinton donors with Geneva accounts evaded tax."

However, with Hillary Clinton now considered the Democratic Party frontrunner for 2016, the revelations may once again cast a special shadow over such dealings.

As Reuters reported last September ahead of a high-profile event for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, "When Hillary Clinton rubs shoulders with financial executives and philanthropic giants... it will underscore the tension between her elite connections and populist image likely to feature in her expected 2016 presidential campaign."

"If you look at her track record from the past, it is out of step with the current Democratic Party," said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of liberal group Democracy For America, at the time. "Not on social issues, but definitely on economic issues, so we're going to be watching very carefully."

As Common Dreams reported last summer:

Clinton has been looked on with suspicion by progressives following high-paid speaking engagements with Goldman Sachs and other powerful Wall Street institutions since leaving her post at the State Department. And last month, Clinton put her weight behind the powerful biotech industry by speaking at their national conference, not only endorsing their business model but offering political advice on how to overcome public opposition to the use of genetically-modified seeds and industrial-scale, chemical-based agriculture.

Also this week, comments made by Clinton suggest her political strategy, if elected, would follow her husband's well-worn tactic of "triangulation," tacking to the political right as a way to curry favor with Republican and corporate interests, but doing so in a way that ameliorates the objections of progressives and liberals. Bill Clinton was famous for doing this when he passed "welfare reform" legislation and deregulated the financial industry in the nineties, both of which, according to many experts and analysts, say paved the way for the current economic crisis the country is now suffering.

Asked for comment by the Guardian about the foundation's receipt of money from donors with Swiss bank accounts, a spokesperson for Clinton declined to comment.

"It is unclear whether the foundation has ever questioned the offshore status of supporters," the newspaper reported, "although foundation officials stress they thoroughly vet contributors regardless of where the donation originated from."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

UN Chief Urges Global Solidarity on Covid, Climate, and Debt Relief

"The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth, if we leave anyone behind, in the end, we leave everyone behind," said the secretary-general at the opening of the virtual Davos summit.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sinema's MLK Day Tweet Sparks Online Fury

One group criticized the Democratic senator from Arizona as "the white moderate MLK warned us about."

Andrea Germanos ·


Why Did Democratic AG Kill Flint Water RICO Case?

"Political corruption poisoned Flint and political corruption shielded the wrongdoers from accountability," said one critic following new revelations.

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Counter Cherry-Picked Quotes With MLK's True Legacy

Calling out those who have "weaponized" his words "to justify legislated white supremacy," Rep. Ayanna Pressley said King "was a radical dreamer with a bold vision for revolutionary change."

Jessica Corbett ·


'No Celebration Without Legislation': King Family Leads Voting Rights March

"I will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father's dream," said Martin Luther King III.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo