UPDATE 1-Argentina wants HSBC to repatriate $3.5 bln in offshore funds
(Adds background on charges, other probes, quotes from Argentine official and HSBC)
BUENOS AIRES/LONDON, March 9 (Reuters) - Argentina wants HSBC Holdings Plc to repatriate $3.5 billion that it says the bank's Argentine branch moved offshore to help clients evade taxes and move capital abroad, the country's tax chief said on Monday.
The South American country last November charged HSBC with helping more than 4,000 clients evade taxes by stashing their
money in secret Swiss bank accounts. HSBC Argentina rejected the charge, saying it respected Argentine law.
Europe's largest bank already faces probes in several countries into allegations it helped its clients evade taxes.
"We would like to know, firstly if HSBC Holdings PLC supported the behaviour of the authorities of the Argentine branch," tax chief Ricardo Echegaray said on Monday, according to a copy of the speech he gave in Argentina's London embassy.
"Secondly, we expect the repatriation of funds by HSBC Holdings PLC, that to our knowledge amount to 3.5 billion dollars."
HSBC said in a statement it was cooperating with Argentine authorities in their probe. Continuación...