An HSBC India client living in Wisconsin was indicted on Tuesday for hiding more than $8.7 million in offshore accounts and filing false U.S. income tax returns, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Arvind Ahuja, a neurosurgeon and US citizen, was indicted on four counts of hiding the accounts, which held $8.7 million as of 2009, and four counts of filing false tax returns, which failed to report more than $1.2 million in interest income.
Ahuja's lawyer, Dan Webb, said his client was innocent. "The federal government has made a colossal mistake by taking this action and we will aggressively fight these outrageous and erroneous allegations," Webb said in a statement.
Webb said Ahuja had interest-bearing accounts and said the bank failed to issue Ahuja documents that stated his interest income. He said once Ahuja became aware of the interest income that was not reported to him by the bank he paid all taxes owed plus interest and late payment penalties.
In April the US Justice Department said HSBC Holdings Plc's unit in India helped U.S. taxpayers stash funds abroad through their India unit, and the department served a so-called John Doe summons on the bank to hand over US client names.
Other HSBC India clients have pleaded guilty to tax evasion as have numerous clients of UBS AG.
The case is USA v Arvind Ahuja, No. 11-cr-135, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.