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  1. Wealth
July 12, 2010

NYT: US steps up HSBC offshore probe

By Spear's

Federal prosecutors are ramping up their criminal investigation into HSBC concerning its sale of offshore tax services to wealthy Americans suspected of evading taxes, according to two people briefed on the matter and to court papers.

Federal prosecutors are ramping up their criminal investigation into HSBC concerning its sale of offshore tax services to wealthy Americans suspected of evading taxes, according to two people briefed on the matter and to court papers.

At least two American clients of HSBC, which is based in London, are aiding federal prosecutors by turning over account details, names of bankers and internal memorandums and other confidential documents regarding HSBC’s offshore private bank, according to one person briefed on the matter. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.

HSBC, however, has not received a target letter from prosecutors indicating that a grand jury has been convened to investigate it, according to another person briefed on the matter. That would be the first step toward an indictment.

The investigation of the bank, which is being conducted by the Justice Department, began informally around late 2008 as an offshoot of the scrutiny of UBS, the Swiss bank giant, over offshore services used to aid tax evasion.

To read the full story, visit nytimes.com

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