Interesting post on the Bankers Umbrella on the ongoing HSBC/tax scandal. This is the comment I posted:

I don't know whether HMRC should have prosecuted more, but there is a problem with your argument, which is that HMRC's action is the most profitable. Problem 1 is that they should be only/mostly motivated by the short-term cost-benefit calculation of recovery of tax. That discounts the basic equity of punishing wrong but also the broader impact of punishment on would be/actual evaders past, present and future.

But my main point is this. I want to take up the argument that privileged information was stolen and push you on what you mean by privileged. In E&W, as far as I am aware, communications between banks and clients are not privileged. Perhaps it is and was different in Switzerland. Further, in E&W, privilege would not attach to communications between lawyer and client where the communications between lawyer and client are used to further a fraud, and this is true whether or not the lawyer appreciates that they are being used to further the fraud. Similar principles apply in other jurisdictions, and confidentiality is not generally permitted otherwise to inhibit disclosure of information about fraud (or indeed lesser wrongdoing). Whistleblowers almost always reveal confidential information which they can presumably (and rather superficially in my view) be accused of 'stealing'. It was a whistleblower from one of the big accountants who started the ball rolling on a series of tax scandals which embroiled most of the major accountants and several law firms in the US. That HMRC may have felt it was a good idea not to roll the ball too hard then is to divert attention from the much more interesting question of whether and where the ball rolls now.