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Jonathan Fisher QC comments on UK Investigations into HSBC Allegations

Jonathan Fisher QC has been quoted in a recent Financial Times article expressing his legal opinion on why he thinks the UK authorities have been reluctant to investigate HSBC’s Swiss private bank over allegations that they helped thousands of clients to evade paying their taxes.

Questions are being asked to the UK government after it was revealed that the US, France, Belgium and Argentina were all making their own investigations into the matter and yet the UK were not.

Jonathan Fisher QC explains why it isn’t as clear-cut as people think. Jonathan was quoted as saying that it’ “would not be straightforward at all” to pursue a Swiss entity, even if it was a subsidiary of a UK company. In addition, a prosecution would require evidence that a “controlling influence” — a director of the bank — knew what was going on. He said: “I just don’t think it is a runner.”

A possible answer to why the UK aren’t so eager to investigate HSBC could be down to the multibillion pound deal they signed with Switzerland in 2011 over tax evasion. In this deal, it was stated that it would be ‘highly unlikely’ that the Swiss banks would be subjected to a criminal investigation regarding tax evasion – although money laundering did not apply to the deal.

To read the full article on the Financial Times click here or alternatively read the PDF version here.

Jonathan is ranked in the Legal Directories as one of the UK’s leading barristers in tax investigation cases. Jonathan can be contacted to discuss any of the issues raised in the article at

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The views expressed in this article represent those of the author and not Bright Line Law.

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