HSBC investigates claims of criminal account holders

// News | General | HSBC investigates claims of criminal account holders
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

HSBC bank says it is looking into allegations that criminals have used offshore accounts at its Jersey operation for money laundering.

The bank issued a statement after the Daily Telegraph newspaper said it was at the centre of a major investigation by HM Revenue and Customs .

HSBC said it was investigating “an alleged loss of certain client data in Jersey as a matter of urgency”.

HMRC said it had “received the data and we are studying it”.

“We receive information from a very wide range of sources which we use to ensure the tax rules are being respected,” the tax authority said.

In a statement, HSBC said, “Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes and over-claiming benefits is a top priority for us, and we value the information we receive from the public and business community.”

Owning an offshore bank account is not illegal. But it is illegal to hide the interest which has accrued on the sums held, and to avoid paying tax on that interest to HMRC.

Geoff Cook, of the trade organisation Jersey Finance, said, “This is a serious matter and we note HSBC’s immediate commitment to co-operating with any investigations carried out by the relevant authorities and welcome the clear position taken by the Jersey Financial Services Commission, that any failure to adhere to Jersey’s clear standards will be robustly investigated and acted upon.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, the tax authorities have obtained details of “every British client of HSBC in Jersey” based on information provided by a whistle-blower .

“These cases will be very complex, difficult and ultimately time consuming to unravel”

It is reported that the 4,000 offshore account holders include a well-known drug dealer living in Central America, bankers who face allegations of fraud and a man once dubbed London’s “number two crook”.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said, “It is really quite difficult to tell from this disclosure whether or not this is an example of HSBC yet again having, shall we say, laxer or weaker controls over who it takes money from.”

“The American authorities do think HSBC was, for too many years, too prone, or in a sense, too easily duped by terrorists and criminals who wanted to launder money. We just don’t have enough information whether or not this is an another example of those weak controls.”

Our business editor said he had been told by HSBC that this appeared to be a case of “whistle-blowers handing over bunches of bank names for whatever reasons”.

He added, “They don’t think they will emerge from this investigation to be shown to be particularly lax in their controls.”

Earlier this year, a US Senate report alleged that staff at HSBC’s global operations had laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorists in a “pervasively polluted” culture that persisted for years.

The report detailed how HSBC’s subsidiaries cleared suspicious travellers’ cheques worth billions, and allowed Mexican drug lords to buy planes with money laundered through Cayman Islands accounts

David Bagley, HSBC’s head of compliance since 2002, resigned from his post when he appeared before the US Senate committee in July.

In theory, HMRC should know about most of the HSBC accounts already.

In 2006, it established a crucial legal breakthrough which meant, for the first time, that it could demand that banks reveal the identities of UK taxpayers who hold accounts offshore.

Since then, the Revenue has been sending demands to hundreds of UK and foreign banks, asking them to do just that.

This has already brought in several hundred million pounds in taxes, interest and penalties, from people who confessed that they had been hiding money abroad.

HMRC has received the latest list of HSBC accounts from the whistle-blower only very recently.

But even if it has come with names and addresses attached, it will not necessarily be an easy matter to identify the people who own the accounts.

Ronnie Ludwig, a tax partner at the accountants Saffery Champness, said some accounts were likely to be in the names of nominee companies and trusts, which hide the identity of the beneficial owner.

Some accounts could also have a trigger clause, he explained, which means the money is moved swiftly to accounts in other offshore tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands or the Cayman Island, if HMRC intensifies its scrutiny.

 Ludwig told the BBC that even with an accurate list in its possession, HMRC would still have quite a task on its hands to sort through each account.

“HMRC is facing an uphill struggle in terms of its resources, because these cases will be very complex, difficult and ultimately time-consuming to unravel,” he said.

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

US, Canada Condemn Kaduna Bombings

As critiscisms continued to greet Wednesday’s twin bombings in Kaduna metropolis, an Improvised Explosive Device went off at the New Road Motor Park in Kano ... Full story

Nigeria's Nkechi Opara wins first medal in women’s weightlifting at 2014 Commonwealth Games

Team Nigeria on Thursday in Glasgow recorded its first medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games when Nkechi Opara won bronze in the women’s weightlifting 48 ... Full story

Bishop Oyedepo: Nigeria May Split Soon

Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church aka Winners Chapel, has warned that Nigeria is on the verge of breaking up if some issues ...

Ebola epidemic gets 'Out of Control' in West Africa

The doctor leading the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone has himself caught the disease. The epidemic has claimed the lives of more than 600 ...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger deploy 2,800 troops against Boko Haram

Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have agreed to quickly form a new force that would comprise 2,800 soldiers to fight the Boko Haram insurgents. The defence ...

Nine Nigerian Students Kidnapped In The Ukrainian City Of Lugansk

Nine Nigerian students have been reportedly kidnapped in the Ukrainian city of Lugansk, according to a statement by the representative of the National Security and ...

Bomb Explosion In Kaduna Leaves Many Dead!

An explosion has occurred in central Kaduna killing at least 10 people, a witness has said. The blast occurred Wednesday afternoon along Isa Kaita road which ...

Nollywood Actress Bukky Wright’s Second Marriage Crashes

It appears that the second marriage of popular Nollywood actress, Bukky Wright with her husband, Adewale Onitiri, has crashed. Reports say the couple almost ended the ...

Boko Haram Beheads Nigerian Air Force Officer - Very Disturbing Video

A disturbing video which showed a Nigerian Naval officer identified as Umar Abubakar being interrogated and later gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram men in Borno ... Full story

Popular Nigerian Pastor Chris Okotie Shows Off N400m fleet of cars

No doubt, the ageless multi award winning pop Musician, Chris Okotie; now known as Rev. Chris Okotie is a very wealthy man; who loves seeing ... Full story

Charles Okonkwo Jr., Nigerian in New York arrested after killing brother, beating respected doctor mother into a coma

Charles Okonkwo Jr., a Long Island, New York, teenager with a history of psychiatric problems killed his 15-year old brother and brutally beat his mother ... Full story

Comment on: HSBC investigates claims of criminal account holders

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Jim Iyke Finally Dumps Nadia For Good, Flirts with New Mistress

Just as we thought that the rift between Ghanaian actress, Nadia Buhari and Nollywood bad boy Jim Iyke, was gradually getting settled as the duo ...

Actor Solomon Akiyesi Says Goodbye To Second Hand Cars

There is absolutely nothing wrong in buying second hand cars, but for some people, it actually means you are not capable of buying a new ...

Wizkid's Alleged 'Caro' Claims Her Account Was Hacked

Few days ago it was reported that an American based girl named Caro Ikpea called out WizKid's girlfriend Tania Omotayo. If you missed it Read ...

Why I Allowed Basketmouth Use My Name—Real Basketmouth Explains

MC Basketmouth and Basketmount BE FOR BE FOR Many may not know that Bright Okpocha, better known as Basketmouth, is not the original owner of the ...

Toke Makinwa Rocks Same Hairstyle As Beyonce

Popular Nigerian OAP, Toke Makinwa is not known to wear braids, but this time, she has decided to give it a try. She is mostly ...

I Will Bring Dider Drogba Back To Chelsea, He Belongs Here - Jose Mourinho

JOSE MOURINHO has confirmed he is trying to bring Didier Drogba back to Chelsea with a deal possible by the end of the weekend.Drogba, whose ...

Stephanie Okereke Linus Features In Hollywood Movie (SEE PHOTOS)

Stephanie announced few weeks ago that she will be featuring in a Hollywood movie. Check out some of the behind the scene photos she posted ...

I Have Diabetes—Jide Kosoko Declares

Veteran Nollywood actor, Jide Kosoko, has disclosed that he has been living with diabetes since 1996. He made this declaration at the just concluded Nigerian ...

I Once Despised Marriage, But Now I Want It--Pasuma

Fuji star, Wasiu Odetola better known as Alabi Pasuma, has disclosed that he is ready to settle down now because he initially sees marriage as ...

Ghanaian Actress, Efya Owusu Shows Off ‘Dirty’ Armpit Online

Some Africans have always been blamed for trying too hard to emulate the Western world, which they do negatively. Even though many have argued that ...