Spurred by data acquired from Swiss banks, U.S. prosecutors are pursuing financial professionals in Hong Kong in their crackdown on global tax evasion, reveals Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, the push follows the U.S. government’s success in penetrating Swiss bank secrecy and learning from insiders how UBS AG helped Americans evade taxes. Bloomberg says that the UBS clients who used Hong Kong corporations told prosecutors how their bankers and lawyers helped them set up offshore corporations so their assets would be hidden in accounts that didn’t bear their names.
“They must have reason to believe this is a target-rich environment and a very significant amount of tax evasion is going on there,” Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor now at DLA Piper LLP in Washington, tells Bloomberg.
Bloomberg says that the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental agency, reveals that while Hong Kong has strict anti-money laundering measures, it is easy to set up nominee and trust accounts there that obscure the ownership and control of assets.