602 Israelis Named on Leaked HSBC List of Tax Haven Account-holders

Leak comes weeks after a tax amnesty expired September 27, under which Israelis had been allowed to belatedly report any income and assets held abroad and pay tax with minimum fines or other punishments.

Israeli tax authorities vowed to track down citizens whose names appeared on a leaked list of account holders with deposits held in the English Channel island of Jersey, a well-known tax haven.

"The Tax Authority is examining means and methods of obtaining details concerning Israeli citizens found by British tax authorities," the office said, after the names, addresses and account balances of 8,747 account holders were leaked to UK authorities. The list includes 602 Israeli citizens, the largest number of non-Britons.

The accounts were held at HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, with the funds deposited there allegedly to avoid taxes and launder money. The British newspaper Daily Telegraph, which broke the news on Friday, said the list showed that the bank provided accounts in Jersey for alleged criminals.

"We can confirm we have received the data and we are studying it. We receive information from a very wide range of sources which we use to ensure the tax rules are being respected," HM Revenue & Customs said in a statement.

The leak comes weeks after a tax amnesty expired September 27, under which Israelis had been allowed to belatedly report any income and assets held abroad and pay tax with minimum fines or other punishments.

Among the account holders on the list were 4,000 British citizens, 527 French, 333 Spaniards and 177 Americans, according to the Telegraph.

HSBC has been criticized by U.S. regulators for lax anti-money-laundering controls in Mexico and elsewhere and last year saw thousands of its Swiss clients probed by the British taxman. Like all banks, HSBC is obliged to report to authorities any suspicions about the source of money deposited in its accounts.

Reuters