Argentina’s AFIP tax bureau has raided HSBC’s Buenos Aires headquarters in search of documents for the tax-evasion and money-laundering case opened against the bank last February.
However, the tax authority could not find all the documents it needed, local media reports suggest.
HSBC officials told AFIP agents that the documents are stored in facilities run by Iron Mountain, a New York-originated company which offers offsite storage locations for documents and computer records of banks and businesses.
Lyssette Bravo, a spokeswoman of HSBC Latin America said that the firm did not deny the accusations and promised to cooperate.
"HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously and strongly supports the efforts of governments and regulators to detect unlawful activity and take appropriate action," the bank said in a statement.
Argentina tax chief Ricardo Echegara said: "They have to pay what they owe and break up this band of crooks, which involved private figures as well as public authorities in the purchase of fake receipts."
The allegation included a criminal organization and fake receipts used to launder money for various companies. The fake invoices are used to whitewash illicit cash or carry out actions intended to evade fiscal obligations.
One of the company’s warehouse in Ba-rracas, Buenos Aires City, caught fire and burned to the ground in February, leading to the death of ten firemen.
Reports suggested that the companies that issued such invoices include Red de Multiservicios SA, Más Distribuidora S.A. y Recaudaciones y Servicios del Sur S.R.L.