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12 Feb 2015 11:30am

HMRC to refer HSBC data to other agencies

HMRC has confirmed that it is referring data received about the alleged tax avoidance of HSBC customers to “other law enforcement agencies”

HMRC confirmed in a statement that restrictions lifted by the French tax authority meant the Revenue was not able to share data received with other law enforcement agencies. It did not specify which agencies.

Sources have told the BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed that HMRC is likely to meet both the Serious Fraud Office and the police this week.

An HMRC spokesperson said in a statement, “HMRC received the HSBC data under very strict conditions, which limited our use of it and prevented us from sharing the data with other law enforcement authorities.

“The French tax authority has now lifted these restrictions, which allows us to share the data with other law enforcement agencies, and we are now in the process of doing that."

BBC Panorama, the Guardian, French daily newspaper Le Monde and the Washington based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed the lengths HSBC’s Swiss private bank went to to to help named clients avoid tax.

These details were referred to HMRC in 2010 but only one conviction was brought. HMRC’s Lin Homer was questioned by MPs over the issue yesterday.

Ellie Clayton

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