UK recoups £135 million in tax from leaked Swiss bank list

16th July 2014, Comments 0 comments

Britain has recovered £135 million ($231 million, 171 million euros) from clients named on a leaked list of HSBC's private banking operation in Switzerland, the tax authority said on Wednesday.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) told a parliamentary hearing that one person had been prosecuted from a list of 24,000 HSBC Private Bank clients leaked by former employee Herve Falciani, who said he wanted to expose tax evasion.

The leak sent shockwaves through the world of Swiss banking, long valued by wealthy individuals for its stability and traditions of banking secrecy, and led to a French probe into HSBC to determine whether it had also helped French customers avoid taxes.

The amount recovered by Britain was nonetheless substantially lower than the equivalent of £220 million retrieved by Spain and £188 million by France according to HMRC figures.

Britain had received strong enough data to pursue up to 3,800 taxpayers for payments - ideally through voluntary settlements rather than through costly prosecution, the tax authority said.

It added that 13 investigations were ongoing.

"We are very very interested - and determined - to shake some money out of these people, but I don't think it'll all be by prosecutions," HMRC chief executive Lin Homer told the hearing.

"So far we have a yield of £135 million, but we are not finished."


© 2014 AFP

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