Two men have been arrested as part of a multi-million-pound tax fraud investigation involving UK customers of collapsed Puerto Rico-licensed international bank, Euro Pacific Bank (EPB). 

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said in a statement its officers executed search warrants at three residential and business addresses in Liverpool and arrested two men, aged 40 and 50. 

Computers and other digital devices were seized during the raids along with business records. High value assets were also seized, including jewellery, prestige watches, and designer clothing and handbags. 

The pair were arrested on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering as part of an investigation that is linked to EPB.

The Puerto Rico Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) suspended the operations of the bank in June 2022, and it has since entered a liquidation process. The bank had been at the centre of a global probe by the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5).

HMRC, which is a founding member of the J5, announced in July 2022 that it was using its full range of civil and criminal powers to investigate the tax affairs of hundreds of UK customers linked to EPB. 

This was followed in September with HMRC writing to around 600 people in the UK who used the bank to urge them to check their tax position and make any necessary corrections. 

Zoe Gascoyne, deputy director, HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said: "When we launched this probe, we were clear that customers of this bank should come to us before we came to them. These arrests prove we're true to our word. 

"HMRC and J5 are making the world a smaller place for those we suspect of cheating the system. Our investigations are gathering pace so now's the time to come clean before it's too late."