09/02/2015

HSBC Helps Clients Avoid Paying Millions In Tax

HSBC is being accused of helping wealthy people avoid paying millions of pounds in tax.

The investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), via the French newspaper Le Monde, said the Swiss unit of HSBC show the bank's dealings with clients engaged in a spectrum of illegal behavior, especially in hiding hundreds of millions of dollars from tax authorities.

They also show bank records of soccer and tennis players, cyclists, rock stars, Hollywood actors, royalty and politicians.

The reporters found almost 60,000 leaked files the names of current and former politicians from Britain, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Kenya, Romania, India, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Tunisia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Paraguay, Djibouti, Senegal, the Philippines and Algeria, among others.

In a statement the bank said: "We have taken significant steps over the past several years to implement reforms and exit clients who do not meet strict new HSBC standards.

"We have also refocused our Swiss private bank on clients from strategic markets of the group, such as owners and principals of the group's commercial banking clients. As a result of this repositioning, HSBC's Swiss private bank has reduced its client base by almost 70% since 2007.

"We are fully committed to the exchange of information with relevant authorities and are actively pursuing measures that ensure clients are tax transparent, even in advance of a regulatory or legal requirement to do so. We are also co-operating with relevant authorities investigating these matters."

BBC is to broadcast a Panorama programme 'The Bank Of Cheats' tonight at 8.30pm.

(CD/JP)

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