HSBC is facing new questions on tax evasion

HSBC yesterday faced further questions about its compliance procedures following allegations that British customers of its Swiss private bank may have evaded at least £200m of tax.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is investigating account holders at HSBC Private Banking Holdings (Suisse) and has secured one conviction for tax evasion. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said it had spoken to two senior tax investigators who both worked at HMRC and that the average amount of tax evaded “is likely to range between £33,000 and £50,000” in each of the 6,000 UK-linked accounts under suspicion.

An HMRC spokesman would not comment on the figure but told City A.M. “there are large amounts of money involved”.

Whistleblower Herve Falciani, a former HSBC worker, gave a list of the private bank’s customers to French tax authorities in 2009. As a result on 4 July property developer Michael Shanly was fined £469,444 for tax evasion.