HSBC to pay 300 million euros to avoid French tax fraud trial

HSBC agrees fine to avoid court over tax fraud charges

HSBC agrees fine to avoid court over tax fraud charges

With a payment of €300 million (CHF350 million), the Swiss subsidiary of British bank HSBC has settled its tax fraud dispute with the French authorities.

HSBC bank is pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, November 8, 2017.

It also said that two former directors of HSBC's Swiss private bank remained subject to possible legal action. The deal does not include a guilty plea and French prosecutors have now dropped the case against HSBC Holdings. The agreement marks the end of the French investigation against HSBC Switzerland. Investigators believe that HSBC's private banking division offered its customers several ways of hiding assets from the French taxman, notably via the use of offshore tax havens.

The settlement between HSBC's Swiss Private Bank and the French prosecutor was the first such deal to be struck under new French rules introduced in 2016 to allow companies to settle without any finding of guilt, HSBC said.

Herve Falciani said he became a whistleblower to help governments track down people who used Swiss bank accounts to evade tax.

The French investigation found that several French taxpayers had not declared to tax authorities assets held in the books of the Swiss private bank, which provided French clients with services used to hide assets.

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