U.S. Markets closed

Austria requests tax data from France in HSBC case

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria has asked France to hand over tax data on clients linked with Austria after HSBC Holdings Plc admitted failings in compliance at its Swiss private bank.

The finance ministry said a request for legal assistance had been sent to Paris on Wednesday. France has had access to leaked HSBC client data since around the end of 2008, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which coordinated the release of details.

Around 400 cases linked with Austria have emerged in media reports which alleged that HSBC helped wealthy customers, including footballers and arms dealers, conceal millions of dollars of assets.

According to the ICIJ, the money associated with Austrian cases amounts to $1.2 billion (1 billion pounds) in around 1,200 bank accounts.

Just over half of the cases linked with Austria relate to accounts held by Austrian nationals, the ICIJ website says, without giving further details. The website has not named any of the clients linked with Austria.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has repeatedly stressed the importance of a pan-European effort to punish tax dodgers.

(Reporting Michael Shields and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Pravin Char)