By Jason Rhodes, Kevin Lim and Joe Rauch
ZURICH/SINGAPORE/CHARLOTTE, July 7 (Reuters) – After forcing Switzerland’s top bank UBS to its knees for helping U.S. residents dodge taxes, U.S. authorities are moving on other banks and countries used to hide clients’ cash.
Washington inflicted a tough lesson last year on Switzerland by forcing the world’s biggest offshore banking centre to lift its treasured bank secrecy and slapping a $780-million penalty on UBS.
The Department of Justice is now going after other offshore centres like Singapore, which have attracted undeclared money that left Switzerland, and has opened a criminal inquiry into Asian clients of Britain’s HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s No. 1 bank.
Banks in Singapore and Hong Kong hold estimated offshore wealth worth $700 billion against Switzerland’s $2 trillion, according to the 2010 Boston Consulting Group Wealth Report.
“There are going to be more such cases,” a U.S. Internal Revenue Service source told Reuters. “There’s a lot of talk about money being moved from Switzerland into Asia.”