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France has given Swissleaks information to ‘large number’ of eurozone countries

media An HSBC branch in Geneva Reuters/Pierre Albouy

France has supplied the names of foreign nationals with secret bank accounts in HSBC’s Swiss branch to most countries in the eurozone, Finance Minister Michel Sapin indicated on Thursday.

“Not many eurogroup [finance] ministers” have not asked France to give them the details of wealthy tax-dodgers who held HSBC accounts in Switzerland, Sapin told journalists in Vienna on Thursday.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

French paper Le Monde and 55 other media worldwide published the “Swissleaks” exposé of the contents of files handed to French authorities in 2010.

They showed nearly 100,000 accounts in HSBC Switerland contained about 180.6 billion euros, whose owners had escaped taxation in their home countries.

France had taken the “necessary action” against its nationals on the list, Sapin said, but it could not tip off foreign countries if they did not ask for the information and they “were not aware of the presence of their nationals on this list”.

Since then a “large number of European countries have asked for it”, Sapin said, while refusing to give an exact figure.

“I quickly reply ‘yes’,” he added. “This is one of the responsibilities of a country like mine.”

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