An investigation has been launched by Nepal authorities into claims that a number of citizens was storing 'black money' in a Swiss bank account. Eight Nepali citizens are under investigation over the 5.5 billion rupee deposit ($USD 55 million). Nepal's central bank, the Nepal Rastra Bank, is one of a number of government authorities participating in the probe. The others are the Finance Ministry, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Department of Money Laundering Investigation is heading the investigation, at the instigation of the Parliamentary Finance Committee which met on Sunday.
The bank where the allegedly illegal deposit is being held is believed to be the HSBC Private Bank in Switzerland, in its Geneva branch. The bank has been the subject of intense scrutiny following its release of private banking information of 30,000 of its customers, many of whom have been alleged to have been depositing money with the bank illegally. The bank reportedly held as much a $102 billion in what has been described in the main as illicit deposits.
“Although there are numerous legitimate reasons to have a Swiss bank account, in some cases individuals took advantage of bank secrecy to hold undeclared accounts. This resulted in private banks, including HSBC’s Swiss private bank, having a number of clients that may not have fully met their applicable tax obligations,” HSBC said in a statement. “We have taken significant steps over the past several years to implement reforms and exit clients who did not meet strict new HSBC standards, including those where we had concerns in relation to tax compliance.”