BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian police raided the homes in Brussels and Antwerp of some 20 clients of HSBC Private Bank on Tuesday as part of an investigation into tax evasion, Brussels prosecutors said.
The prosecutors' office said in a statement that the investigation had begun after French tax officials handed a CD-ROM disc to their Belgian counterparts containing details of HSBC Private Bank accounts in Switzerland held by Belgian residents.
They said 90 federal agents were tasked with establishing what part HSBC Private Bank's Swiss arm in Geneva might have played in the administration of its Belgian client base.
A spokeswoman for HSBC
Under EU rules, member states can tax savings even if they are earned in a different member state and under an agreement signed between the bloc and Switzerland in 2004 people liable to pay Belgian tax were charged a 15 percent tax on interest earned from savings held in Switzerland. In 2011 that rate was raised to 35 percent.(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Steve Slater; Editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Greg Mahlich)