HSBC client pleads guilty at US tax evasion hearing

City A.M. Reporter
A US client of London-based HSBC pleaded guilty to conspiracy yesterday in connection with assets stashed abroad to evade taxes, part of a widening crackdown on foreign banks and their customers.

The plea is the first among the US government’s recent tax prosecutions that involves a major bank other than Swiss banking giant UBS. Last year UBS admitted that it actively helped US clients to hide money abroad.

HSBC was not named in the court documents, which referred to “one of the largest international banks in the world” ... “headquartered in England.”

But a person familiar with the matter identified the bank as HSBC.

Andrew Silva, of Sterling, Virginia, a doctor, pleaded guilty in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to conspiracy to defraud the US government by hiding about $250,000 (£158,000) in an account at a Swiss unit of HSBC.

Dressed in a black suit and accompanied by a weeping woman, Silva also pleaded guilty to lying to US customs authorities, who questioned him as he traveled into America with some of the money.

US District judge Liam O’Grady set 7 May for a sentencing hearing. Silva faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.