LONDON Britain said on Friday it had launched an investigation into suspected tax evasion and money-laundering by an unnamed "global financial institution" and some of its employees.
"The first phase of the investigation, which will see further, targeted, activity over the coming weeks, is focused on senior employees from within the institution, along with a number of its customers," the British tax authority, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), said in a statement.
HMRC said it could give no further details about the inquiry as it was an ongoing investigation.
Earlier on Friday, Dutch investigators said they had seized paintings, a gold bar and jewelry and arrested two people as part of a international hunt for tax evaders, after receiving a tip-off about 55,000 suspect accounts at a Swiss bank.
They said there had been coordinated raids on Thursday in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, France and Australia.
Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) said on Friday its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam had been contacted by local authorities concerning client tax matters and it was cooperating with the authorities.
The HMRC statement said: "Yesterday HMRC, working with our international partners, launched a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering by a global financial institution and certain of its employees.
"The international reach of this investigation sends a clear message that there is no hiding place for those seeking to evade tax."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; eiting by Stephen Addison)