Taxman investigating HSBC offshore accounts

by Calum Fuller

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09 Nov 2012

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A LIST of HSBC offshore account holders passed to the taxman is under investigation for potential tax evasion and money laundering.

About 4,000 British residents, ranging from taxi drivers and green grocers to celebrities, appear on the list, which was leaked by an HSBC whistleblower.

HM Revenue & Customs said it had "received the data" and is "studying it".

It added: "Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes and over-claiming benefits is a top priority for us and we value the information we receive from the public and business community."

Penalties for offshore tax evasion can be as much as 200% of the tax owed, while criminal prosecution is also a possibility.

Watt Busfield tax investigations partner Rebecca Busfield said: "There have been various amnesties for professions including doctors, dentists, plumbers and private tutors. For anyone part of these professions ... voluntary disclosures would be advisable as prosecutions could follow."

For its part, HSBC said it was "investigating the reports of an alleged loss of certain client data in Jersey as a matter of urgency".

"We have not been notified of any investigation in relation to this matter by HMRC or any other authority but should we receive notification, we will co-operate fully with the authorities," it said.

Known criminals who hold accounts with the bank's Jersey operation are among the names leaked to the taxman, The Telegraph reports. 

Those criminals are said to include a well-known drug dealer now living in Venezuela, a man convicted after he kept more than 300 weapons in his Devon house and three bankers facing major fraud allegations.

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