NEW DELHI: London-based HSBC has admitted to being probed by tax authorities in India and some other countries for allegedly abetting tax evasion of four Indians and their families.
In its latest annual report published last week, the global banking giant conceded being approached by the regulatory and law enforcement agencies of various countries for information on persons and entities named in the leaked ‘Panama Papers’.
According to its annual report, HSBC has set aside $773 million (Rs 5,000 crore) as a provision for various tax- and money laundering-related matters.
“There are many factors that may affect the range of outcomes, and the resulting financial impact of these investigations and reviews. Due to uncertainties and limitations of these estimates, the ultimate penalties could differ significantly from the amount provided,” HSBC said.
It noted that various tax administrations, regulatory and law enforcement authorities around the world, including in the US, France, Belgium, Argentina and India are conducting investigations and reviews of HSBC Swiss Private Bank and other HSBC companies in connection with allegations of tax evasion or tax fraud, money laundering and unlawful cross- border banking solicitation.
It said the Indian tax authorities had in February 2015 issued summons and request for information to an HSBC company in India. “HSBC Swiss Private Bank and the HSBC company in Dubai have responded to the show-cause notices,” it said, but did not disclose the name of Indian individuals.
The bank first came under the scanner in India after a leaked list of hundreds of Indian clients of its Geneva branch found its way to the Indian tax authorities. Similar lists made their way to tax authorities in various other countries, prompting probes. The Indian government has stepped up its fight against blackmoney in recent years.