An Italian financial broker working on behalf of HSBC in the Swiss town of Lugano is under investigation for possible money laundering in a probe linked to a wider tax evasion case, an Italian finance police colonel told Reuters.
The officer’s confirmation that an investigation has been opened followed a statement on Tuesday from Turin tax police, saying that police searched the home of the broker in the Northern Italian town of Lecco. It did not name the broker.
The statement said the individual is suspected of being part of a group of a dozen brokers who are alleged to have collected funds from Italian clients, deposited them in anonymous accounts in the Lugano office of HSBC and then transferred them to offshore companies in Panama, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Isles to shield the money from tax authorities.
The other 11 people are not under investigation and no other searches have been carried out, finance police colonel Ivan Bixio told Reuters on Tuesday.
“We are monitoring the situation but have no further comment at this stage,” an HSBC representative told Reuters in an emailed statement.
HSBC no longer has offices in Lugano.