In 2010 Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund disclosed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) the names of some 6,000 British account holders of the HSBC bank in Switzerland.

To-date HMRC has investigated just 500 individuals for suspected fraud leading to just one conviction, and HMRC refuses to publish the List.

Meanwhile in Greece, journalist Costas Vaxevanis has caused a great deal of embarassement for his goverment by publishing the names of 2,000 Greeks from the List. It is alledged that none of these have been investigated by the Greek tax authorities.

Lin Homer, HMRC’s new chief executive is facing questions by MPs as to HMRC's strategy in apparently letting so many tax evaders off the hook. Section 94 Finance Act 2009 allows HMRC to publish the details of deliberate defaulters, but until there is evidence of deliberate default and the necessary safeguards have been addressed it seems unlikely that any of the UK names on the Lagarde List will face public scrutiny.

From 6 April 2011 increased tax-geared penalties apply in relation to errors and failures relating to offshore income and capital gains, so it is supposed that HMRC will be monitoring those on the List to ensure future tax compliance.

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