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A HSBC bank branch in Mumbai. Photo: Santosh Verma/Bloomberg
A HSBC bank branch in Mumbai. Photo: Santosh Verma/Bloomberg

HSBC account names stolen data: Swiss government

If true, then it might make it difficult for India to get more details into accounts without additional evidence

London: Amid a global expose revealing tax dodging through accounts holding more than $100 billion in HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss branch, the government of Switzerland on its part said these names are from “stolen data"—an assertion that might make it difficult for India to get details on these accounts without any additional evidence.

Switzerland, however, said the country is “strongly committed" to fight against the black money menace following change in its policy a few years ago. “The published information is based on the known list with stolen data of the years 2007 and earlier," a Switzerland government spokesperson said from Berne.

HSBC on its part has admitted to past lapses even as it claimed that rigorous control are now in place to curb illicit fund flows. Asserting that it has taken significant steps over the past years, HSBC said its Swiss private bank has witnessed almost 70% decline in its client base since 2007.

Details of more than 100,000 account holders around the world, including over 1,000 from India, have been revealed through a joint investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). “We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC’s Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today," HSBC said in an email statement.

The entire HSBC list has 1,668 Indians, while the number of actionable cases stands at 1,195 after taking into account duplication and some other factors. Collectively, these accounts had a balance of $4.1 billion ( 25,420 crore) till 2007. In today’s list, there are 2,699 accounts linked to 1,688 Indians. Out of these, 1,403 accounts were opened between 1969 and 2006, while the maximum amount of money associated with a client connected to India was $876.3 million. PTI

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