HSBC alleged to be under investigation by HMRC

HSBC bank is investigating allegations that criminals have used accounts at its operation in the tax haven of Jersey to evade tax and launder money.

HSBC bank is investigating allegations that criminals have used accounts at its operation in the tax haven of Jersey to evade tax and launder money.

The bank issued a terse statement following reports in The Telegraph newspaper that it was being investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

It said: "We are investigating the reports of an alleged loss of certain client data in Jersey as a matter of urgency.

"We have not been notified of any investigation in relation to this matter by HMRC or any other authority but, should we receive notification, we will cooperate fully with the authorities."

According to the article in The Telegraph, the tax authorities have obtained details of every British client of HSBC in Jersey after a whistleblower secretly provided a detailed list of names, addresses and account balances earlier this week.

Among those apparently identified on the list, The Telegraph named Daniel Bayes, a drug dealer who is now in Venezuela; Michael Lee, who was convicted of possessing more than 300 weapons at his house in Devon; three bankers facing major fraud allegations and a man once dubbed London's "number two computer crook".

HMRC issued a statement, saying only: "We can confirm we have 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. Where we uncover evidence of tax evasion we will crack down on it.

"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."

CM

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