A 2008 email from the HSBC whistleblower to HMRC has been published, as the government is accused of failing to act on allegations of large-scale tax evasion.
Herve Falciani, the source of the HSBC leaks, said he offered HMRC access to the information he obtained in 2008, but HMRC claimed that it did not receive the message.
French newspaper Le Monde has since uncovered the email, which reads:
Subject: tax evasion: client list available
Date: March 18, 2008 11:05:09 PM GMT+01:00
I have the whole list of client of one of the world top five private bank.
1/ This bank is based in Switzerland
2/ I’m also granted to access the Information System
Earlier this week, after being provided with information by the whistleblower, Le Monde, the Guardian, and the BBC broke the story revealing that the private Swiss bank subsidiary of British multinational bank HSBC may have used Swiss secrecy laws to help wealthy clients around the world evade millions in tax.
In the wake of the scandal, MPs have accused HMRC of failing to properly manage the situation after the issue was first reported to them.
Major donors to both the Conservatives and the Labour Party have been named as having accounts the the Swiss HMRC bank, and each side has been quick to denounce the other as “dodgy”.
Ownership and use of private Swiss bank accounts is not illegal, but the banking secrecy laws in Switzerland provide an opportunity for some customers to avoid or evade paying tax.