HSBC Escapes Action by U.K. Financial Watchdog Over Swiss Tax Evasion Charges

Finance and Trade
05/01/2016 10:34

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has decided not to take action against HSBC, Britain's largest bank, whose Swiss arm helped clients to evade tax. HSBC was hit by a scandal last year when leaked bank account details showed how its Swiss unit helped wealthy customers to evade taxes by concealing assets and handing out cash to avoid the authorities. HSBC’s private banking clients, which also featured 2,000 diamond industry names, held more than $100 billion. Prosecutors in Switzerland last June ended an investigation into possible money laundering at HSBC’s Swiss private bank without filing any criminal charges. The Geneva prosecutor’s office said that it would not pursue charges against the Swiss unit and that HSBC would pay 40 million Swiss francs, or about $42.8 million, to settle the inquiry. The Swiss operation also is facing criminal charges in Belgium, which is seeking to retrieve about €540 million ($600 million) in unpaid tax after its probe into 829 accounts in HSBC Private Suisse Bank in Geneva.