HSBC closing accounts of non-residents in Jersey

17th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

HSBC is in the process of closing bank accounts in Jersey belonging to people who do not live on the island, a British dependency widely seen as a tax haven, it indicated Tuesday.

The move comes as the bank faces intense scrutiny over claims that it helped wealthy clients dodge tax emerged in the SwissLeaks scandal.

London-based HSBC is writing to people who have accounts in Jersey but do not live there and suggesting they open new accounts closer to home.

A spokesman for the bank said: "Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, HSBC has implemented numerous standards designed to prevent its banking services being used to evade taxes or launder money, and we have exited clients who do not meet those standards or where we have concerns in relation to tax compliance."

Its comments came after the BBC reported that HSBC was among several British banks carrying out similar checks.

Jersey, which lies 22 kilometres (14 miles) off the coast of northern France, has a population of 90,000.

The island is not a part of the United Kingdom but a British crown dependency with its own laws and parliament, a thriving financial services sector and low tax rates.

HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver last month apologised to a committee of British lawmakers for "unacceptable" failings over the SwissLeaks allegations.

It faces claims that it helped clients from around the world dodge taxes on accounts containing 180 billion euros ($204 billion) between November 2006 and March 2007.

© 2015 AFP

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