Canada, France probe HSBC’s Swiss accounts

FRENCH investigators are probing some 1,500 Canadian-registered Swiss bank accounts at HSBC as part of a crackdown on unreported wealth, the head of Canada’s revenue agency said yesterday.

Authorities are looking into accounts obtained from a former HSBC worker who allegedly stole the records from the bank and handed them over to investigators. Canadian tax authorities are working with the French investigators.

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, said it was cooperating with the probe.

The paper trails marks the latest breach of strict bank secrecy laws that make Switzerland a popular tax haven, and comes as Canadians are increasingly storing money in offshore tax havens.

“The largest accounts are now being audited, and others will follow,” Keith Ashfield, minister of national revenue, said in a statement issued last night.