US vows to crack down on tax evaders

TWO clients of HSBC were among nine people charged by US prosecutors with concealing offshore bank accounts, cases potentially roping in a second major bank to a US crackdown on wealthy tax cheats.

The other seven were all former US clients of Switzerland’s UBS, the bank at the centre of enforcement efforts over the past year.

“The rich are not different,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

“Multimillionaires with secret Swiss bank accounts have to pay their taxes just like everyone else. It is that simple.”

US officials have said they are using reams of data gathered in last year’s tax amnesty program to find suspicious patterns that could lead them to banks beyond UBS.