HSBC gets Indian tax summons; crackdown gathers steam globally

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Feb 24, 2015 00:55 IST

Facing a multi-nation probe for “alleged tax evasion, money laundering and unlawful cross-border banking solicitation,” global banking giant HSBC on Monday said it has been served summons by Indian tax authorities.

“We have co-operated continuously with Indian authorities and we continue to do so,” an HSBC India spokesperson said.

The tax authorities have also initiated probes into its operations in many other countries as well as its Swiss banking unit with regard to irregularities. The bank said there could be "significant" amounts of fines, penalties and/or forfeitures imposed on it.

The bank also said it has received “subpoenas and requests for information” from various authorities including the US with respect to certain US-based clients of an HSBC company in India.

Indian authorities widened the scope of the investigation after a list of over 100,000 account holders in HSBC’s Swiss banking unit, which included 1,195 Indians, came to the fore recently.

The Swiss police also conducted raids at HSBC’s Geneva offices last week.

Regulatory authorities from across the globe including Belgium, Argentina, France and Switzerland have been carrying out investigations and reviews of HSBC Swiss Private Bank regarding alleged tax evasions.

HSBC, which reported a 17% fall in global profit to $18.68 billion for 2014, said the sandal has brought “shame” on the bank. India revenue, however, rose 10% to $1.83 billion, while profit increased 7% to $700 million last year.

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