HSBC To Pay €300M To Settle French Tax Probe Into Swiss Arm

HSBC Holdings PLC said Tuesday that its Swiss private-banking unit will pay EUR300 million ($352 million) to resolve charges that it helped clients evade taxes in France.

However, HSBC Switzerland announced on Tuesday that the settlement did not mean that the bank was guilty. Under this agreement, the bank acknowledges "the existence of the alleged facts".

It also said that two former directors of HSBC's Swiss private bank remained subject to possible legal action.

HSBC was accused past year of helping French clients to hide at least €1.67 billion from the tax authorities, according to a source close to the probe.

The fine had been fully provisioned, the lender added. "The parent company UBS AG has finally been returned to the criminal court in march for money-laundering, aggravated fraud tax" and its French subsidiary for "aiding and abetting".

The settlement was the first in France under a new law passed previous year modeled on US deferred prosecution agreements. It may not therefore claim, according to the law, to the benefit of a CJIP.



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