Facing a multi-nation probe for “alleged tax evasion, money laundering and unlawful cross-border banking solicitation”, global giant HSBC today said it has been served summons by the Indian tax department.
The bank said it is being probed by tax authorities in many other countries as well with regard to alleged irregularities by its Swiss banking unit and there could be “significant” amounts of fines, penalties and/or forfeitures imposed on it.
Separately, the UK-based bank said it has also received “subpoenas and requests for information” from the US and other authorities with respect to certain US-based clients of an HSBC company in India.
This case relates to some NRIs facing investigation in the US for alleged violation of the American tax laws.
A leaked list of over one lakh account holders in HSBC’s Swiss banking unit, including 1,195 Indians, recently became public, prompting authorities in India and many other countries to launch their investigations to ascertain whether these accounts had illicit money stashed abroad.
Giving an update on the case in its annual report published today, HSBC said it is cooperating with the relevant authorities, while adding that it was possible that other tax administration, regulatory or law enforcement authorities will also initiate or enlarge similar investigations or regulatory proceedings.
“Based on the facts currently known, there is a high degree of uncertainty as to the terms on which they will be resolved and the timing of such resolutions, including the amounts of fines, penalties and/or forfeitures imposed on HSBC, which could be significant,” it added.
With regard to India, the bank said earlier this month a public prosecutor in Switzerland commenced an investigation of HSBC Swiss Private Bank, and “the Indian tax authority issued a summons and request for information to an HSBC company in India”.