Taxman gives leaked HSBC data to the police and fraud squad

Tim Wallace
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Margaret Hodge MP said the authorities had done a poor job of prosecuting tax evaders
MORE tax dodgers could face prosecution as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) yesterday said it would give a trove of leaked data to the police.

MPs rowed viciously with tax officials over the case, which involved information from HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm.

HMRC has raised £135m for the exchequer, but only prosecuted one tax evader. MPs said the case shows the authorities are a soft touch.

“If HMRC can be bothered to catch you, you might have to pay, you won’t face prosecution, you’ll get away with it. This is a rotten message to give to taxpayers,” said Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

HMRC bosses said they had hoped to prosecute hundreds of others, and they believe the police may be able to investigate other offences like money laundering.

Initially, they had been restricted to chasing up taxes owed, but HMRC now has permission to share the information with police and the fraud squad to look into any other crimes.

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