Newspaper article International New York Times

France Seeks Criminal Suit for HSBC's Swiss Unit ; Financial Prosecutor Asks That a Tax Evasion Case Be Brought to Trial

Newspaper article International New York Times

France Seeks Criminal Suit for HSBC's Swiss Unit ; Financial Prosecutor Asks That a Tax Evasion Case Be Brought to Trial

Article excerpt

France's financial prosecutor's office said on Friday that it had recommended to magistrates that HSBC's Swiss operation be criminally charged with encouraging tax evasion. France's financial prosecutor's office said on Friday that it had recommended to magistrates that HSBC's Swiss operation be criminally charged with encouraging tax evasion.

HSBC's Swiss unit, the source of so much recent trouble for the British bank, has further problems.

France's financial prosecutor's office said on Friday that it had recommended to French magistrates that HSBC's Swiss operation be criminally charged with encouraging tax evasion.

The Swiss unit, HSBC Private Bank (Suisse), now has a month to respond to judicial authorities, after which magistrates will determine whether the case would go to trial.

HSBC Private Bank is facing a number of investigations around the world, including charges in Belgium on grounds similar to those in France. Even Switzerland, hardly known for taking a hard line against banks that abet tax evasion, has opened an investigation of HSBC Private Bank for suspected money laundering.

The Swiss unit has also been a source of embarrassment lately for Stuart Gulliver, the chief executive of the parent bank, after revelations that he had used an HSBC Private Bank account to park 5 million pounds, or about $7.5 million, through a Panamanian vehicle. Mr. Gulliver has explained that he did so to hide his bonus from co- workers.

The parent company, HSBC, which is based in London and is Europe's largest bank by stock-market value, sought Friday to play down the importance of the French prosecutor's move.

"This is a normal step in the judicial procedure, and the outcome of the matter is not determined as of today," the bank said.

The accusations trace to 2007, when a whistle-blower named Herve Falciani took files containing information on thousands of HSBC Private Bank accounts and handed them to the French government. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.