Sunday 8 February 2015 11:46 pm

HSBC rocked by report into tax evasion scheme

HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm helped wealthy customers evade millions of pounds in tax, documents have revealed. The files, which relate to accounts holding more than $100bn, show how the UK’s biggest bank helped clients evade tax, even collaborating with some to hide undeclared “black” accounts from their domestic tax authorities. Thousands of pages of data were obtained by a collaboration of news outlets including Le Monde, the Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and BBC Panorama. They were stolen in 2007 by a computer expert working for HSBC in Geneva and contain details of over 100,000 clients worldwide. HMRC said yesterday they have already acted on the list of tax evaders, handed to them in 2010, with more than £135m in tax, interest and penalties paid by those who hid their assets. But Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge MP, told the BBC more needed to be done: “I just don’t think the tax authorities have been strong enough, assertive enough, brave enough, tough enough in securing for the British taxpayer the monies that are due.”