February 9, 2015 / 4:16 PM / 5 years ago

Denmark seeks names of HSBC Swiss account holders

COPENHAGEN, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Denmark said on Monday it would seek the names of its citizens who may have used Swiss bank accounts to avoid tax at home, following media reports that the Swiss private banking unit of Britain’s HSBC helped its customers do just that.

HSBC on Sunday acknowledged its Swiss business had experienced compliance and control failures when it was newly acquired and not fully integrated.

Reports that HSBC helped customers evade tax stem from a leaked list of account holders obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The list included 329 Danes who had 4.8 billion crowns ($730 million) in Swiss accounts, said newspaper Politiken, which had access to the data. But although the list was shared by French authorities with other countries, Denmark had not asked for a copy.

The Danish tax ministry confirmed that an agency reporting to it was responsible for requesting such documents and that it had not done so at the time.

“The Danish Central Customs and Tax Administration will as quickly as possible ask for the relevant information,” the ministry said.

Politiken quoted academics as saying that the statute of limitations for tax evasion was 10 years, which may make some cases too old to prosecute. ($1 = 6.5711 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Holmes)

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