Argentina will move forward with its investigation of the HSBC offshore accounts in Switzerland, and will make public the names of those Argentine citizens and organizations that held money overseas in the financial entity, allegedly with the purpose of eluding local taxes.
Swiss and French officials are also looking into the matter while the British parliament only recently held a meeting on the issue summoning the top executives of the HSBC group to explain the workings of their Swiss branch, and how controls apparently failed to keep track of the situation.
Lawmaker Roberto Feletti from President Cristina Fernandez ruling coalition confirmed that the Bicameral Committee investigating HSBC offshore accounts in Switzerland will make public the names of those involved.
Feletti, who is also Budget Committee leader in the Lower House of the Argentine congress, will preside over the group which is set to meet next Wednesday at 11 am. During the audience, committee members will draw up a work plan designed to investigate how the financial maneuvers, which Argentina's tax bureau, AFIP, alleged were carried out in order to evade taxes across around 4.000 accounts, and involving an estimated 3.5bn dollars.
The names of the account holders will be made public, the lawmaker affirmed. He also revealed that bankers, experts, control organizations, the Central Bank and the National Values Commission would be called upon to give evidence, in order to analyze whether there was a pre-arranged 'modus operandi' in the bank to aid capital flight.
A foreign bank that is authorized to operate in Argentina is under the same conditions as a national bank, and if that foreign bank sets up a network of branches for Argentines' savings and, betraying the country in which it works, sends those savings overseas and on top of that with tax evasion, capital flight, it is vital to look over the regulations currently in place, he added.
The AFIP has detected tax evasion worth 68 billion pesos. Right now the fiscal deficit of Argentina is 38 billion pesos. If that money had not left the country we would not have a fiscal deficit underlined Feletti.
Argentina's head of AFIP Ricardo Echegaray was invited to the hearing on HSBC held in the House of Commons convened by the Public Accounts Committee, and has also exchanged information on the issue with British authorities.
Echegaray said in London Argentina wants HSBC Holdings Plc to repatriate 3.5 billion dollars the bank's Argentine branch moved offshore to help clients evade taxes and move capital abroad.