London-based HSBC is likely to face new investigations in the UK and the US, after allegations its Swiss branch was assisting sanctioned countries and drug cartels in money laundering and tax evasion.
HSBC, the largest bank by assets in Europe, was forced to admit that its Swiss private banking arm dealt with the accounts of people evading tax after the data of more than 100,000 customers was leaked to the media.
David Gauke, the UK’s Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said the information was passed by French authorities to the British tax authorities in 2010 “under very strict conditions,” the FT reports. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was not allowed to provide this information to other law enforcement agencies. As a result, the authorities could not bring legal proceedings against those suspected of any illegality, Gauke said.