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HSBC threatens closure of its Jersey accounts

hsbc2Troubled HSBC could close accounts in Jersey for those who live in the UK.

The bank has been contacting people who live in the UK and have accounts in Jersey. The move is part of its efforts to avoid accusations that it is helping tax avoidance.

It has asked account holders to provide proof of identity at an HSBC branch on Jersey. If holders do not comply, they could be at risk of seeing their accounts closed.

The move does not affect customers who hold offshore accounts through HSBC’s Expat account operation.

HSBC has been trying to get out of the spotlight after revelations that its Swiss operation was involved in helping wealthy clients avoid tax by concealing millions in assets.

The move comes after it decided recently to shut accounts for the Vatican, embassy staff and charities after it was hit in 2012 by a £1.2 billion fine by US authorities for breaching money-laundering rules and letting Mexican drug barons move cash around.

HSBC since has been trying to remove risk from its business and is not alone – other banks have taken steps to verify the identity and residence of people who have accounts in Jersey.

Britain’s biggest bank said it continuously reviews customer details in order to protect against fraud and other financial crime.

“With financial crime becoming more sophisticated, keeping accurate, up to date information on customers such as complete proof of identity or address, helps us monitor transactions effectively for potential fraudulent activity.”