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HMRC hunt identifies more than 100 tax evaders

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A joint investigation by the UK, the US and Australia to identify those using offshore tax havens to hide wealth has uncovered more than 100 people.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said some of these were already under investigation for tax evasion, the BBC reports.

It said it has obtained large quantities of documents which reveal those, along with professional advisers, who may be involved.

Evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is not.

The hunt was sparked by a joint investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme, the Guardian newspaper and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

HMRC is working on the material, which it describes as 400 gigabytes of data, with the tax authorities in the United States and Australia.

So far HMRC has pinpointed more than 100 people from the information, whom it says benefited from using offshore havens such as Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Cook Islands to hide their assets.

More than 200 UK accountants, lawyers and other professional advisers will also be scrutinised.