The warnings David Cameron ignored
May 2010: HMRC first receives evidence of thousands of UK-based HSBC clients and tax avoidance
HMRC receives information on a leaked HSBC client list which includes details of UK tax avoiders.
The Guardian, 08 February, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/08/hsbc-files-expose-swiss-bank-clients-dodge-taxes-hide-millions
· 26 September 2010: it is reported that HMRC is investigating more than 200 cases of British taxpayers suspected of tax evasion totalling "many millions of pounds"
The Sunday Telegraph reports that HMRC is investigating more than 200 "extremely wealthy" British taxpayers suspected of tax evasion totalling "many millions of pounds". It adds that they are “believed to have failed to declare huge sums of interest from private deposit accounts with HSBC's bank in Switzerland.” A HMRC source said the inquiry would continue for "quite a few months" and could lead to criminal proceedings in the courts.
Sunday Telegraph, 26 September 2010, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/expat-money/8025527/HMRC-launches-tax-evasion-probe-into-Swiss-account-holders.html
12 September 2011: Head of HMRC says “the whole nation probably knows” HMRC has detail of 6,000 HSBC clients who are “ripe for investigation”
Dave Hartnett, then Permanent Secretary, Tax, HMRC tells the Treasury Select Committee that “the whole nation probably knows that our Department has a disc from the Swiss—from the Geneva branch of a major UK bank—with 6,000 names, all ripe for investigation.”
Evidence to Treasury Select Committee, 12 September 2011, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmtreasy/1371/1371.pdf
13 October 2011: HMRC officially announces that it is investigating some 6,000 UK-based Swiss bank account-holders
HMRC announces that its officials are targeting some 6,000 UK-based Swiss bank account holders in a clampdown on customers who may have failed to report all their income and gains. HMRC says it plans to write to residents and organisations holding accounts with HSBC in Geneva following information it received in 2010. HMRC also said that the work would be led by HMRC’s new Offshore Co-ordination Unit, which has recently been established and will become fully operational next month. Commenting, David Gauke, said: “The Government has shown its commitment to closing the tax gap by making an additional £917million available to HMRC to tackle evasion, avoidance and fraud. This will fund the new Offshore Co-ordination Unit, and its specialist teams, which will drive forward this work.”
HMRC, press release, 13 October 2011, http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120405135325/http://nds.coi.gov.uk/clientmicrosite/Content/Detail.aspx?ClientId=257&NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=421582&SubjectId=36
5 July 2012: A property developer is found guilty of tax avoidance as a result of the list passed to HMRC
Property developer Michael Shanly becomes the first to be found guilty of tax avoidance as a result of the list passed to HMRC. Commenting on the conviction Treasury Minister David Gauke said “this case proves the government will track down and take action against those who try to get out of paying the tax they owe.” The Financial Times reported that “HMRC said further prosecutions were likely following its investigation of accounts held at HSBC in Geneva.”
Financial Times, 5 July 2012, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/de20410e-c6b2-11e1-943a-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3RHArlTpU
July 2012: A Senate investigation reveals that HSBC was involved in money laundering
WASHINGTON – Global banking giant HSBC and its U.S. affiliate exposed the U.S. financial system to a wide array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing risks due to poor anti-money laundering (AML) controls, a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probe has found.
Senate Subcommittee Press Release, 16 July 2012, http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/media/hsbc-exposed-us-finacial-system-to-money-laundering-drug-terrorist-financing-risks
29 July 2012: Labour calls on Ministers to “set out what they know about” allegations of tax evasion by British clients of HSBC
The Observer reports that British clients of an HSBC-owned private Swiss bank are alleged to have evaded tax by more than £200 million. Labour’s Chris Leslie calls for ministers to “set out what they know about these things, and whether they took appropriate steps to defend the rules on tax and propriety.”
The Observer, 29 July 2012, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jul/29/lord-green-hsbc-tax
2 November 2012: HMRC says the organisation has a “selective prosecution policy” towards those involved in the HSBC case
A senior HMRC official tells the Times they have a “selective prosecution policy” on this issue and that the courts “would not thank HMRC for taking zillions of prosecutions into them, so we have a selective prosecution policy”.
Money Marketing, 2 November 2012, http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/hmrc-allows-hundreds-of-tax-evaders-to-avoid-courts/1060785.article
5 November 2012: HMRC says there are “another dozen” criminal prosecutions “in train”
HMRC officials tell the Public Accounts Committee that there are “another dozen” criminal prosecutions “in train”.
HMRC, evidence to Public Accounts Committee, 5 November 2012, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmpubacc/716/121105.htm
26 November 2012: the Government admit HMRC has “confirmed that it recently received details of around 4,000 HSBC account holders in Jersey”
Lord Myners receives a written answer to his question asking what investigations are being carried out by HMRC into “the role of HSBC in money laundering and tax evasion though Jersey”. Tory Treasury Minister Lord Sassoon replies saying HMRC has “confirmed that it recently received details of around 4,000 HSBC account holders in Jersey” and is “currently analysing this data and will take appropriate action as a result. Lord Sassoon also notes that the FSA is “the regulator for financial institutions in the UK but that “HSBC's operations in Jersey are not incorporated or authorised in the UK and are subject to regulation by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.” (Hansard, 26 November 2012, Column WA3, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/121126w0001.htm#12112613000440)
31 January 2013: David Cameron approves HMRC boss Dave Hartnett’s move to HSBC
The Daily Mail reports that “in documents seen by the Daily Mail, David Cameron was advised that ‘while working in government Mr Hartnett had official dealings with HSBC over a number of years’.”
Daily Mail, January 31 2013, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270813/Former-UK-tax-chief-Dave-Harnett-lied-MPs-advise-HSBC-bank-honesty.html#ixzz3RFMJ1By3