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HSBC faces tax probe after Jersey accounts blown

Whistleblower hands HMRC details of every British client of HSBC in Jersey, including a drug dealer, three bankers charged with fraud and a gun runner.

 
HSBC faces tax probe after Jersey accounts blown

A whistleblower has given HM Revenue & Customs details of every British client of HSBC in Jersey, according to the Telegraph.

The details included names, addresses and account balances of more than 4,000 people based in Britain who have bank accounts with HSBC in Jersey, and was given secretly to HMRC earlier this week, according to the newspaper. 

A drug dealer, three bankers facing fraud allegations, and a man possessing more than 300 weapons at his house are among the HSBC Jersey account holders, the newspaper claims. The list, which is understood to be the single biggest leak of a bank's offshore customers, also includes several celebrities and other well-known figures.

The newspaper said the list identifies 4,388 people holding £699 million in offshore current accounts, and they are also likely to have billions of pounds more in investment schemes. HSBC has confirmed it is investigating the alleged data loss, but said it has not been notified of any investigation by HMRC.

The leaking of the Jersey data is the latest development in increasingly aggressive attempts to name and shame tax evaders around the world. Back in 2008 an HSBC employee sold details of HSBC's Geneva clients to the tax authorities, leading to the creation of the so-called 'Legarde list'.

Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis last week avoided a jail sentence after publishing the list, which included the names of 2,059 wealthy Greeks alleged to have shifted over a billion pounds to a bank in Switzerland.

15 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Clueless

Nov 09, 2012 at 12:38

great way to ruin an entire economy. Hope the whistleblower is jailed for such a large breach of data protection and privacy.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:05

data privacy??? why would one be concerned of details being shared with HMRC when it will just confirm assets / income they have already declared on their UK tax return? unless of course... they haven't....oh wait.. or have something illegal to hide... can't imagine that would be the case? publishing details in a newspaper is a different story but sharing with HMRC (who - subject to inept management of confirdential data - will keep matters between them and the tax payer)... You never know this might even help build a few extra schools.

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Clueless

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:15

I think the HMRC has a lot bigger problems than people having offshore bank accounts...

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Rose G

Nov 09, 2012 at 14:40

Those with offshore accounts beware, you are about to be outed!

Perhaps its time to now close these facilities - now wait a minute, this will inconvenience a lot of millionaires who do not wish to publish or disclose their full income or earnings.

Off shore accounts are a blatant way of hiding money from crime, as demonstrated by the criminals using these facilities - the only people needing these accounts are those who are ashamed of the wealth they have accumulated from dubious transactions like gun running, sale of prohibited/illegal drugs.

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Philmo

Nov 09, 2012 at 15:10

I'm amazed HMRC don't have the powers to request such info from HSBC!

Clueless

So you'd be a willing accessory to fraud then?

I for one consider it a laudable act to "grass" on the weasels and rats of society who are in fact making life more expensive for the honest majority.

And as for the "corporate pillars of society" who protect these weasels - decades will pass before they regain the respect and integrity they once championed.

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Clueless

Nov 09, 2012 at 15:18

Why don't you join the community police and stop people selling drugs to kids? What about Starbucks, Ebay and the others who paid pennies in tax yet made sizeable UK profits?

There are a lot bigger issues than an alledged fraction of UK citizens having an offshore bank account.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 09, 2012 at 15:31

Clueless: I'm afraid you are living up to your name - what Ebay, starbucks et al have done is legal, what tax evaders do (many could be included in these Jersey accounts) is not legal. You can debate whather the loopholes are just for years but ultimately companies have a responsibility to s/holders to maximise profits (within the law and within the ethical remit the board and investors excpect) and this is exactly what they are doing. Maybe the loopholes should be closed but of course every story has two sides and the possibility it will force companies out of the UK (at the risk of job losses etc) needs to be fully thought through.

There are always 'bigger' issues but doing something is bettre than nothing and of course, the Governments shareholders are the public and they have a very different moral expectation than stockholders in Ebay might.... Good luck in the real world.

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Clueless

Nov 09, 2012 at 15:43

Anon that may be your opinion and you are perfectly entitled to it.

However, there is no confirmation from the HMRC or otherwise that these accounts or the funds in them are tax evasion. Can merely be people putting savings which have been earned and taxed in the UK a little out of reach.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Nov 09, 2012 at 16:00

yup and thats why i said "could" be included.... You're right not to make the assumption and there are in fact legally justifiable reasons to hold money offshore - however out of 4,388 people chances are some of them might not be fully compliant.

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Colin A

Nov 09, 2012 at 16:49

Nationwide has 'offshore' accounts in the isle of man. The accounts used to allow one to defer paying interest until the account is wound up. This is useful for the self-employed or others whose income fluctuates from year to year.

Isle of Man, Jersey etc have to disclose interest paid to HMRC under European Union Savings Tax Directive

http://www.nationwideinternational.com/DOCUMENTS/eustd_guide.pdf

I am sure all perfectly legal.

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mugwuffin

Nov 09, 2012 at 18:11

Anyone got any Vera's? Lovely...

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masud butt

Nov 09, 2012 at 23:43

HSBC IS BRITISH BANK, WHY BOTHER, IN THE END MONEY COME TO UK.

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Christopher

Nov 10, 2012 at 08:53

Maybe I am not the only one to lose sympathy for the Greek Gov when they arrest a whistleblower instead of hunting the tax dodgers with Swiss bank accounts.

I held some bank shares until HSBC failed to realise that shipping millions in suitcases out of South America could conceivably involve drug money and then Standard Chartered exposed its feet of clay over Iran - I sold my last two holdings then (having got out of RBS the day the Dutch deal went unconditional) and won't be buy any more just yet.

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Gerry Edwards via mobile

Nov 12, 2012 at 09:11

£699 million identified in Jersey is small fry. Try some corporate accounts like the Irish Developers - who claim to be penniless- they have billions stashed away. Don't stop with HSBC Barclays, Lloyds and RBS are all operating 'wealth management' funds (tax avoidance) schemes. An insider has told me that there is over £2 trillion in these accounts. HSBC you're small fry.

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Dennis .

Nov 16, 2012 at 12:04

Masud Butt Funny how the Hong Kong and Shanghei Bank ie HSBC is regarded as a British bank , with a name like that you might even think otherwise.

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