HSBC in clampdown over accounts opened in Jersey by non-islanders

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HSBC is closing scores of accounts in Jersey held by people who do not live on the island.

The move is part of a push by UK banks to check on the identity and addresses of thousands of their customers across the Channel Islands.

The review comes amid pressure on banks to ensure that off-shore accounts are not being used to hide money from UK tax authority HMRC.

HSBC is writing to people who have accounts in Jersey but do not live there and advising them to open accounts closer to their home addresses. The bank said: “Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, HSBC has implemented numerous standards designed to prevent its banking services being used to evade taxes or launder money, and we have exited clients who do not meet those standards or where we have concerns over tax compliance.”

In 2012, HMRC began an investigation into a data leak at HSBC in Jersey which led to allegations that British residents may have used accounts to launder money or evade taxes.

John Harris, director general of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, said: “We welcome any move banks take to manage risks and comply with international standards.”

He added: “The number of bank accounts in Jersey has shrunk over the last couple of years, but this is only by around 1 or 2 per cent. We have taken a strong stand against tax evasion.”

The move comes after HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver last month apologised for the “unacceptable” tax-avoidance activities linked to the bank’s Swiss arm in the mid-2000s.