HSBC to pay record £28 million settlement in Geneva money laundering probe

HSBC offices in Switzerland were searched in February after allegations that it helped clients dodge tax

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The Independent Online

HSBC said Thursday it will pay a 40 million Swiss francs (£28 million) settlement over allegations that its Swiss bank was used by some clients to launder money.

The payment is to compensate authorities for past organisational failings, HSBC said in a statement. No criminal charges have been filed and the bank does not have to admit wrongdoing.

HSBC offices in Switzerland were searched in February after allegations that it helped clients dodge tax. A former IT employee called Hérvé Falciani fled Geneva in 2008 with files that allegedly showed tax evasion.

Falciani later handed over the files, containing details of more than 100,000 HSBC clients, to the then French finance minister, Christine Lagarde.

The ‘biggest banking leak in history’ led to investigations by Swiss, US and French authorities. Lagarde also forwarded information about individuals in the files to governments, including the British government. By February HRMC had prosecuted just one individual.

HSBC said that the Geneva authorities had taken into account its co-operation and the progress made in transforming tax services in recent years.

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