HSBC officials on Tuesday confirmed that income tax (IT) authorities had conducted a ‘survey’ in their offices here with regard to tax evasion by its Indian customers, who held funds overseas.
Under the ‘survey’, the IT officials will only examine the place and the documents. This will not include seizure of documents.
“We have cooperated continuously with the Indian authorities and we continue to do so,” said an HSBC spokesperson when contacted by The Hindu .
However, the official of HSBC declined to divulge into details.
The survey, which started last week, got over on Monday, according to the sources.
Despite several efforts to reach them, IT officials were not available for comment.
This was part of an investigation related the bank’s Swiss arm, which helped clients to stash away their money to avoid tax related issues.
The annual report of the bank, which was released on Monday, stated that “the recent disclosures around unacceptable historical practices and behaviour within the Swiss private bank remind us of how much there still is to do and how far society’s expectations have changed in terms of banks’ responsibilities.”
“They are also a reminder of the need for constant vigilance over the effectiveness of our controls and the imperative to embed a robust and ethical compliance culture.”
“We deeply regret and apologise for the conduct and compliance failures highlighted which were in contravention of our own policies as well as expectations of us,” said Douglas Flint, Group Chairman, HSBC.
The government authorities in countries including Belgium, France, Switzerland, Argentina and India were investigating into the operations of its Swiss private bank in connection with allegations of tax evasion, money laundering and unlawful cross-border banking solicitation.