HMRC have convicted their first HSBC Swiss bank holder for tax evasion, after stolen HSBC bank data was passed to HM Revenue and Customs two years ago.
Following the leaking of a stolen HSBC disc of bank data, containing information on over 6,000 UK companies and individual HSBC customer’s holding offshore bank accounts at HSBC’s Geneva branch in Switzerland, HMRC have won their first tax evasion conviction.
Click here to read HMRC’s new offshore co-ordination unit target HSBC Swiss BankTax Evasion | Disc leaked from HSBC Swiss Offices
Michael Shanly, 67, a property developer from Berkshire, who owned a Swiss bank account with HSBC has been convicted of £430,000 inheritance tax evasion at Woodford Green Crown Court in Essex.
Ranked 528th on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2011 Shanly is thought to have an estimated fortune of £132m. Shanly admitted to the £430,000 inheritance tax evasion and is expected to pay £469,444 for failing to pay tax on the inheritance money in his HSBC Swiss bank account: Shanly has voluntarily paid HMRC £387,103 bringing this total to £856,547.
The Swiss bank account was opened by Shanly with both his mother’s money and his own and the account was then closed following her death. The money in the account allegedly went to a children’s charity in Switzerland and not Shanly himself.
Tax Evasion | Undeclared money in offshore Swiss AccountsThe Swiss bank account was not disclosed to HM Revenue and Customs; in court it was claimed that Shanly did not declare the Swiss bank account during his Civil Investigation of Fraud by HMRC, as himself and partner were distracted by adoption procedures underway in Poland.
This is Money.co.uk have labelled Shanly’s tax evasion conviction as ‘the first high profile case HMRC has brought since football manager Harry Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion in February’.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Guake, 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 message is clear: even if you try to hide money abroad, HMRC will find you.”
The Judge in Shanly’s tax evasion case, Recorder Rosamund Horwood Smart, said:
“In this court there are no rules just for the rich and no rules just for the poor…the tax system relies on voluntary and honest disclosure of tax affairs and it applies to all equally.”
HMRC is expected to have launched tax enquiries and possible tax investigations into the tax affairs of the 6,000 Britons whose HSBC Geneva bank accounts were disclosed in the stolen data from HSBC’s Swiss division in 2010.
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