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

Barima Sydney Admits Ghanaian Artists Use Juju

Is the entertainment industry in Ghana this diabolic? Weeks ago, we were stunned when Pink FM presenter Eric Akoto raised alarm that some of his ... Full story

Banky W Plays Bestman Role In Tiwa Savage Wedding

It's no longer news that female Pop singer, Tiwa Savage and her husband/manager, Tunji Balogun, popularly called, Tee Billz are staging their fairytale white wedding ... Full story

Actor Joseph Benjamin Covers RB Magazine April/May Issue

Blazing the cover of RB Magazine’s April/May 2014 issue is the stunning look of multiple award winning actor and co-host of the MTN Project Fame reality ... Full story

Nollywood Actor Chris Nkulor Is Dead

Chris Nkulor, a prolific Nollywood actor, has recently passed on. The actor had earlier this month been diagnosed of a kidney ailment, and this was ...

Boko Haram: Abducted Chibok School Girls Estimated To Be 234

The number of secondary school girls still under Boko Haram captivity is more than the figure widely circulated. There are 234 of them missing from the ... Full story

Lola Omotayo-Okoye Replies Haters Who Blame Her For Psquare Break Up

It seems people are beginning to blame Peter Okoye’s wife, Lola Omotayo for the sad Psquare’s separation. Fans are calling her all sorts of names like ... Full story

Paul Okoye Breaks Silence On Psquare Split

The Psquare Family: Peter and Paul Okoye with wives Lola Omotayo, Anita Isamah and children – Andre, Aliona and Cameron. As the on-going controversy in the ... Full story

12 injured as fire razes Oando filling station in Ogun

No fewer than 12 persons were Easter night injured in a fire that engulfed the Oanda filing Station, at Alagbole in Ifo Local Area Government ...

Mavin Artiste Dr. Sid Joins Nollywood

Dr. Sid, has made his Nollywood debut.   In the movie, ‘The Last 3 Digits’, the 33-year-old teams up with actor Nonso Diobi under directives of newly ...

How God saved us from bomb blast through T.B Joshua's 'anointing water'

Three survivors of the Nyanya bomb blast that killed over 70 people in Nigeria’s capital Abuja last week and left hundreds more injured recounted their ...

Musician Iyanya Visits Nyanya Bomb Blast Victims

Music artiste Iyanya has in no single doubt made it known that his foundation which he launched some weeks back, the IyanyaFoundation has started its ... Full story

Comment on: HSBC investigates claims of criminal account holders

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Mercy Johnson, Chika Ike Deny Beef Rumour

Over the weekend, it was reported that Nollywood damsels; Mercy Johnson Okojie and Chika Ike were not in talking terms. According to reports, the two ...

Omotola Gets MTV Personality Of The Year Award Nomination

Nollywood actress, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde is no doubt having it good for her especially after her Times magazine recognition. The beautiful mother of four has been ...

Barima Sydney Admits Artistes In Ghana Make Use Of Juju

Barima Sydney Is the entertainment industry in Ghana this diabolic? Weeks ago, we were stunned when Pink FM presenter Eric Akoto raised alarm that some of ...

Popular Nollywood Actor Dies

Popular actor, Chris Nkulor has died barely a month after news hit the internet that he was in need of about N6million for a kidney ...

Banky W Plays Bestman Role in Tiwa Savage & Tee Billz Wedding

It's no longer news that female Pop singer, Tiwa Savage and her husband/manager, Tunji Balogun, popularly called, Tee Billz are staging their fairytale white wedding ...

Genevieve Nnaji Storms Friend's Traditional Marriage in Nnewi

Genevieve Nnaji honoured her close friend, Linda Onyinye Chukwuma, during her traditional marriage in Nnewi, Anambra state yesterday. Onyinye Chukwuma is the daughter billionaire businessman ...

Elegant: Genevieve, Others Striking Pieces At Billionaire’s Wedding

Son of Nigerian billionaire businessman Chief Izuchukwu Onwugbenu(Chairman of Louise Carter Group), called Emeka Carter got married recently to his heartthrob Onyinye Chukwuma , the ...

Yemi Alade Dazzles In Pink Outfit

Fast-rising and sensational Nigerian pop artiste, Yemi Eberechi Alade is a gorgeous and performing singer who debuted in the music entertainment industry in the year ...

Pictures From Hadiza Okoya, Olamiju Akala Lavish Wedding

Daughter of Nigerian billionaire industrialist, Chief Rasaq Akanni Okoya, Hadiza Okoya tied the knot with her hubby, Olamiju Akala, on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014. ...

Maheeda Finally Takes off Everything (LOOK)

Naija baddest girl, Maheeda Finally Takes off Everything for the world to see her ministry. SEE PHOTOS HERE   ...