HSBC whistleblower tells ITV News he was 'never invited' to the UK for talks with tax officials despite contacting them

HSBC whistleblower 'never' invited to UK by HRMC. Credit: ITV News

The whistleblower at the heart of the revelations revealed in the HSBC tax avoidance scandal has told ITV News that he was "never invited" to the UK by HMRC officials to talk to them about what he knew.

Mr Falciani, who is reported to have siphoned off information on 30,000 accounts, said he was never asked to talk to UK tax officials, but would be prepared to do if they contacted him.

He said that the authorities across Europe should work together to find out what went on.

Mr Falciani added: "I propose - you had political blockage in France, you still [do]. I propose publicly, and I can repeat, and I can renew that, to get them access to the same cloud that I got access myself. More important to me than that is to organise an agreement."

When asked if he had ever been invited to the UK, he replied: "Never. Never been invited. Never been in contact with anyone."

But would he go if he were asked?

"Of course," he said.

The latest tax evasion scandal involving leaked documents relating to HSBC's Swiss accounts has thrown the issue of offshore banking back into the limelight.

The details of 3,600 British residents with Swiss bank accounts have been looked into. Credit: PA

Of more than 6,000 British names understood to have been passed to HM Revenue & Customs in 2010, UK tax authorities say they have pursued around 1,100, recovering £135 million in unpaid tax, fines and interest.

Just one prosecution has been brought and around 130 cases remain outstanding.

Mr Falciani, who initially obtained the list while employed as an IT worker in 2007, said he had emailed and phoned the tax authorities two years before data was handed over by French authorities in 2010.

"I sent an email, a very naive email, in 2008 ... to England - to the department dedicated to tax evasion - and afterwards I even called them," he told Sky News.

"And finally the most efficient move was through the French authorities because when we accepted to work together it was established and agreed that what we were doing should be available to any countries having co-operation treaties signed with France."

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Downing Street sources have stressed the denial of ministerial knowledge related to allegations of wrongdoing by bank employees.