Argentina IDs accounts in alleged tax evasion

AP News
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Posted: Nov 28, 2014 7:50 PM
Argentina IDs accounts in alleged tax evasion

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's top cable TV operator, a former professional soccer player and a lawmaker are among the holders of some 4,000 secret Swiss bank accounts used to evade taxes, the Argentine tax agency said Friday.

The agency's revelation came a day after it charged HSBC bank with helping Argentines evade taxes by stashing about $3 billion in the secret accounts.

It said that the money was handled by intermediaries through a network of offshore accounts and that it got its information from France, where HSBC was placed under formal investigation last week for possibly aiding tax evasion. The banking company has also been charged in Belgium with organized fiscal fraud.

The Telam state news agency published the tax agency's list of the account owners Friday. It includes cable TV operator Cablevision and executives at Grupo Clarin, Argentina's largest media group. It also includes opposition lawmaker Alfonso Prat-Gay, a former member of the Velez Sarsfield soccer club, executives at HSBC Argentina and a local nongovernmental group that fights against multiple sclerosis.

HSBC has denied any wrongdoing and several of those named Friday also rejected the allegations.

"Cablevision informs that the accounts of the company ... mentioned in the named lists have been entirely declared and were informed to the (tax agency) in all its sworn statement," the cable television company, which is owned by the Grupo Clarin conglomerate, said in a statement.

Lawmaker Prat Gay said he also abides by all Argentine rules.

"I was never the owner or beneficiary of a bank account in Switzerland," Prat Gay said on his official Facebok account. "All my assets have been declared" to the tax agency.

Officials at the tax agency were not available to comment or to provide the list, despite repeated emails and calls.