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Tuesday 16 January 2018

PAC wants HSBC file from the Revenue Commissioners

John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke
John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Dáil spending watchdog has given the Revenue Commissioners a week to supply a report on its investigation into tax evasion by certain Irish clients of HSBC.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman John McGuinness said Revenue needed to "clarify matters for the general public", amid concern that only €4.55m had been recouped in relation to €3.1bn in Irish-linked deposits held by the HSBC's Swiss operation.

Mr McGuinness said the PAC was seeking the report from Revenue "ASAP" and would be looking to deal with it at next Thursday's session of the committee.

Speaking at a meeting of the committee yesterday, he said Revenue needed to make it clear how many Irish account holders were suspected of tax evasion and the steps the taxman took to investigate them.

Mr McGuinness noted that the UK's PAC had already met with its revenue officials to discuss the same issues.

Since it began investigating the HSBC accounts five years ago, Revenue has reached 20 settlements and secured three prosecutions.

Details of the Irish-linked accounts, dating from 2006 and 2007, emerged in leaked documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative journalists.

They show how HSBC staff in Switzerland facilitated some Irish clients to evade tax.

Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald said the committee required "a very detailed briefing on these matters".

Revenue officials insist they fully assessed and evaluated all of the information received about the Swiss HSBC accounts from French authorities in June 2010.

They has also defended their decision not to seek the prosecution of HSBC, saying there was not sufficient admissible evidence to mount a case.

Irish Independent

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