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.
Investigations by the French government revealed that many French taxpayers had hidden their assets with help from HSBC’s private bank.
However, HSBC Switzerlandexternal link announced on Tuesday that the settlement did not mean that the bank was guilty. The agreement marks the end of the French investigation against HSBC Switzerland.
The investigation began with the whistleblowing case of Hervé Falcianiexternal link. The French-Italian dual citizen worked as a computer scientist at HSBC in Geneva and stole the data of some 15,000 clients in 2006 and 2007.
On the basis of the data, the French authorities initiated a formal investigation into HSBC in 2014. Other countries such as Argentina, Belgium, Spain and the United States also started investigations.
HSBC has admitted that the private Swiss bank made mistakes. The bank says it has since taken measures to prevent tax fraud.