July 6, 2010 / 4:46 AM / 10 years ago

HSBC clients in U.S. tax probe - report

Free cash withdrawals are advertised outside a HSBC bank in the city of London March 1, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Some HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L) clients are being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department on suspicion of failing to disclose accounts in India or Singapore, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing three people it did not identify.

Letters from the Justice Department sent to HSBC (0005.HK) clients did not mention the bank by name, but were directed to people with accounts at the bank, the report added, citing unnamed lawyers.

Gareth Hewett, HSBC’s spokesman in Hong Kong, declined to comment on the case, but said the bank “fully supports government moves for appropriate disclosure by its citizens,” and that it “does not condone or assist tax evasion.”

Two sources familiar with the matter in Singapore said there did not appear to be any concerted investigation by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service into HSBC accounts in the city-state.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government charged several former wealthy clients of UBS AG UBSN.VX after the Swiss bank last year admitted to actively helping U.S. citizens evade taxes overseas. Two clients of HSBC were also charged by U.S. prosecutors with concealing $45 million (29.7 million pounds) in unreported bank accounts.

Reporting by Kelvin Soh and Kevin Lim; Editing by Chris Lewis

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