The man who leaked tens of thousands of account details from HSBC’s Geneva branch has told Sky News that he first contacted HMRC by email and by telephone in 2008.
However, Herve Falciani said the full processed data was only given to UK authorities in 2010.
“I sent a naive email in 2008 [to HMRC] and afterwards I called them and finally the most efficient move was when authorities made available to any countries with tax treaties with France,” he said.
The date of this offer is an important part of the scandal impacting British politics.
HSBC now admits problems in controls and compliance in the period before 2008.
Mr Falciani said he was “relieved” that it had made the admission, something he has suggested for years.
So this raises questions on all sides.
Firstly the problems on compliance and control occurred at a time when Lord Green was chief executive and then chairman of Britain’s biggest bank.
He was then made a lord, trade minister, and appointed to a Cabinet committee on post-crisis banking reform by the Prime Minister, after HMRC had received a full account of thousands of Britons suspected of avoiding taxes with HSBC’s help.
However, Mr Falciani confirms he first tried to contact HMRC in 2008, at a time when Labour was in office.
The picture painted by Mr Falciani is of a Britain reluctant to delve into illegally obtained data that nonetheless contains revelations about personal and corporate conduct.
He said he was used to being ignored by authorities that should have wanted to know more.
“Never did British tax authorities, Parliament nor Government invite me … right now the British investigators received just a tiny part of the available information on HSBC. Just 1%.”
His actions were the ultimate source of the data that has caused political havoc in Greece, Spain, India, France, Belgium and now the UK.
He says he is glad that another French source handed the full data to Le Monde newspaper, who then passed it on to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
“We hope it would increase public awareness of offshore banking which is out of control … We have proof in front of us”.
Mr Falciani is now advising political parties such as Podemos in Spain and the Indian government on how to combat tax avoidance by their richest citizens.
He said he would be delighted to come to Britain, but fears arrest by Interpol on account of a Swiss extradition warrant.
He was arrested in Spain because of the warrant, but his extradition was blocked on account of the help his data had given to Spanish tax and judicial authorities, after he appeared, disguised, at a tribunal.