SYDNEY, April 5 Hundreds of secret Swiss bank
accounts identified by Australian authorities as part of a
global tax evasion and money laundering investigation are still
in use, a top tax official said on Wednesday.
Coordinated raids on scores of suspicious bank accounts
began last week in Australia, the Netherlands, Britain, Germany
and France, with at least two arrests so far.
Australian regulators are making inquiries on a list of
1,000 individuals that was provided to them by their Dutch
counterparts. Out of that, Australia has already identified more
than 340 and is still making inquiries to expose the remainder.
"This seems to be a more current list," Michael Cranston,
Deputy Commissioner, Australian Tax Office told Reuters by
phone. "Our understanding is some are active accounts. The
information we've got suggests a lot of them would be active
over the last year or two."
Cranston declined to specify those being investigated, only
saying that one Swiss bank was at the centre of the
Swiss bank Credit Suisse came out last week to
reveal its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam were contacted
by local authorities concerning client tax matters.
In Australia, the surveillance is being carried out by the
Serious Financial Crime Task Force (SFCT), of which the ATO is a
"We're actually making inquiries with those taxpayers. We'll
make the necessary adjustments and impose the necessary
penalties," Cranston said.
"If we find links to accountants as facilitators, they may
be subject to criminal investigation. It all depends on what we
(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Randy Fabi)