HSBC India at Center of Fresh Tax Evasion Claims

On 2/10/15 Swiss Newspapers, Tages Anzeiger and Le Temps, reported that the latest files from the “Swiss Leaks” (H. Falciani, former HSBC employee) confirmed that during 2004 and 2005 HSBC bankers had at least 1645 meetings in 25 countries with clients (or prospective clients) to solicit them to open undeclared accounts. Meetings included: Paris and Tel Aviv Luxury Hotels, a piano bar in Antwerp, Belgium, an airport in Congo (Africa), a summer residence in Copenhagen, Denmark.

5 of the 25 countries: US, France, Argentina, Spain, & Belgium have begun legal action against HSBC, Switzerland (HSBC is reputed to be Europe’s largest bank).

On 2/15/15, as reported by the Economic Times (UK) HSBC India is at the center of new tax evasion claims including:

1) Soliciting 9000 US clients (of Indian origin) to open accounts, assuring them that “details of their accounts would not be reported to tax officials”. Of the 9000 US taxpayer/clients, fewer than 1400 disclosed the existence of their accounts (less than 15%). The bank is alleged to have “aided and assisted in tax evasion” by intentionally concealing the accounts and the income from the accounts.

Two cases were reported of US taxpayers with undisclosed HSBC/India accounts (by the UK/Inland Revenue Service), see below. In 4/11 the US Dept of Justice issued a summons for HSBC India to disclose US account holders.

2) Case #1:HSBC India Bank officials were alleged co-conspirators in the case of Arvind Ahuja, a neurosurgeon from Wisconsin, who had 5.5m pounds (UK), in secret offshore HSBC accounts and filed “false tax returns”, and used undeclared accounts in Jersey, India and other countries for the purpose of “concealing income”. The UK fined him 222,000 pounds and ordered him to serve 3 years probation.

3) Case #2, NJ businessman, Vaibhar Dahake, admitted concealing undeclared accounts in 2011. HSBC solicited him to open accounts for high interest rates, which would “not be declared to tax authorities” and to transfer funds in tranches of 6500 pounds to “stay below the radar”.

For complete article, click link, HSBC India at Center of Fresh Tax Evasion Claims.

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