SYDNEY, March 31 (Reuters) - Australia has identified more than 340 individuals with links to Swiss banking relationship managers alleged to have actively promoted and facilitated tax evasion schemes, a federal minister said on Friday.
Information gathered by authorities in a joint international investigation indicates that the Australians identified hold “unnamed numbered accounts with a Swiss bank,” Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O‘Dwyer, said.
“The fact that these accounts are unnamed means that by their very nature they are likely to have been established to hide the identity of the owner,” she said in a statement.
“The message from these investigations makes it clear that governments worldwide are shining a light on offshore tax evasion, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re in the spotlight.”
In the coming week, Australia’s Serious Financial Crime Task Force (SFCT) will interview bank employees, taxpayers and lawyers as part of its investigation into whether Australians identified in the data have failed to comply with their tax obligations or been involved in criminal activity, she added.
This follows search warrants and arrests by authorities in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
Separately, Swiss bank Credit Suisse said on Friday its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam were contacted by local authorities concerning client tax matters. (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)