Swiss bank HSBC to pay France $352 million in tax fraud case

HSBC Private Bank a Swiss unit of banking giant HSBC has agreed to pay €300 million to avoid going to trial in France for enabling tax fraud. Fabrice Coffrini  AFP

HSBC's Swiss private bank said it is ending a long-running French investigation over offshore accounts by paying a fine.

HSBC Private Bank, Swiss unit of British banking giant HSBC, has accepted to pay 300 million euros (352.83 million US dollars) to avoid going to trial over tax fraud charges, French Financial prosecutor said on Tuesday.

French prosecutors have now dropped the case against HSBC Holdings. French authorities said they discovered the assets after seizing computer documents found at the French home of a former HSBC employee in 2009.

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The bank has been investigated in several other countries, including Spain and Belgium, following the leak. These 300 million euros, already fully provisioned by the bank, will abound, the budget of the French State.

Prior to HSBC, the swiss bank UBS, continued in France for a similar offence, had begun informal negotiations with the prosecution of the national financial to also study the possibility of setting up a CJIP.

HSBC said that under the agreement announced Tuesday, there is no finding of guilt on the part of the Swiss Private Bank.

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