U.K. has list of possible tax evaders

Nov. 9, 2012 at 1:02 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- British authorities say they are looking at HSBC bank accounts from the Bailiwick of Jersey for evidence of tax evasion and other criminality.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is studying a list, provided by a whistle-blower, of 4,388 banking clients with accounts in Jersey -- an independent island on the Normandy coast in the English Channel -- The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

"We can confirm we have received the data and we are studying it," a spokesman for HMRC said.

The newspaper said the list includes an assortment of criminals and wealthy bankers, three of whom have been accused of serious fraud.

The Telegraph named Daniel Bayes, described as "a drug dealer who is now in Venezuela," and Michael Lee, "who was convicted of possession of more than 300 weapons at his house in Devon."

Among the clients are a financial manager with $9.5 million in his bank account and several individuals described as celebrities.

"Clamping down on those who try to cheat the system through evading taxes and over-claiming benefits is a top priority for us and we value the information we receive from the public and business community," the HMRC spokesman said.

HSBC, one of the world's largest banks, said this week it has set aside $1.5 billion to settle money-laundering charges brought by U.S. authorities.

Banks are required to report movement of money that looks suspicious, such as large deposits made in cash. Failure to do so can result in charges of helping criminals turn traceable, ill-gotten gains into hard-to-trace funds, which is to say money laundering.

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