A leading London bank is now closing private banking customer accounts of Americans who are living in the U.K., acting preemptively to prevent probes by the Obama administration.
The White House wants to crack down on alleged tax cheats, as disclosed in the president's budget proposal.
Private banking clients of Lloyd's Banking Group recently received memos telling them of an "important change in policy regarding clients who are resident, domiciled or linked to the United States by property or asset holdings."
The bank told the wealthy clients that the bank had "no choice" except to "cease acting as your investment manager," according to a report in The Daily Telegraph of London,
A bank that is part of the Lloyd's group, Bank of Scotland, sent the letter, according to The Telegraph, that said, "the USA has a mature regulatory environment, governed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. These regulations mean we are not licensed to manage portfolios for U.S. clients."
The bank is advising clients to find another investment banker. One client, quoted anonymously by the Telegraph, said that he is an American who has lived in the U.K. for 25 years, and "after all this time, I've suddenly been told I must take my money elsewhere and I don't understand why. Now I'm scared that other banks won't take me on either."
A report in the Los Angeles Times indicates that Obama's tax crackdowns are causing businesses to write and lobby their Congressmen, who are pleading that the plans may also harm American businesses which bank overseas.
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