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UK tax authority downplays allegations against HSBC on tax evasion

The HSBC bank logo is pictured at a branch office at the Paradeplatz in Zurich February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON (Reuters) - The head of the UK's tax authority told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that allegations revealed in the media about tax evasion by HSBC (HSBA.L) clients did not prove wrongdoing on the part of the bank.

Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Account Committee, asked the Chief Executive of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if the authority had considered: "Whether or not it was appropriate for HMRC to take action against the Swiss arm of the bank for colluding with or actively promoting (tax) evasion."

CEO Lin Homer responded: “We’ve seen no evidence, necessarily, to support that”.

“Things that get written in newspapers do not stand up to the criminal test of evidence,” she said.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin. Editing by Alexander Smith and Jane Merriman)