HSBC, tax evasion and criminal prosecution

Taking as starting point that HMRC is a revenue gathering body and not a prosecuting authority, criticism of it’s failure to prosecute HSBC Swiss tax evaders has been unfair, writes Jonathan Fisher QC in an article first published by the Tax Journal on 2nd March 2015. He highlights the problems criminal prosecution brings and sets out why the decision to focus on tax collection through civil settlement is a sensible one. He also points to potential issues for HMRC if it seeks to rely on HSBC’s Swiss records in a criminal prosecution.

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