HSBC to close Jersey accounts in crackdown on tax avoidance

 
Joseph Millis
HSBC is under fire for helping customers of its Swiss arm avoid tax (Source: Getty)
HSBC has begun contacting thousands of holders of Jersey accounts who live in the UK in a bid to avoid accusations that it is helping to shelter money from tax authorities.

Britain’s biggest bank has written to customers with such accounts to ask them to take proof of identity to a branch on the island, or risk having their accounts closed.

The bank, under fire for helping customers of its Swiss arm avoid tax, said: “We continuously review details we hold on all our customers to ensure we have the information we need to protect them, together with wider society, against fraud and other financial crime.

“With financial crime becoming more sophisticated, keeping accu­rate, up to date information on customers such as complete proof of identity or address, helps us monitor transactions effectively for potential fraudulent activity.”

Other banks have also been taking steps to verify the identity and residence of their account holders in Jersey.

Barclays said it “takes its responsibilities seriously, whether it is to know our clients, or through compliance with the range of agreements that Jersey has in place with tax authorities”.

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