HSBC’s Swiss arm charged with serious fiscal fraud

  • Noopur Tiwari, Hindustan Times, Paris
  • Updated: Nov 18, 2014 00:53 IST

Belgian authorities have charged a Swiss subsidiary of HSBC with serious and organised fiscal fraud, money laundering, criminal organisation and illegal financial intermediary.

Belgian prosecutors say HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) cheated the state by wooing very wealthy clients particularly in diamond businesses in Antwerp. The bank is said to have offered its privileged clients offshore companies in Panama and Virgin Islands for the sole purpose of hiding assets.

“More than a thousand Belgian taxpayers could be affected for amounts that would cover billions of dollars that have been placed, managed and/or transferred between 2003 and today,” said the Belgian prosecutors in a communiqué.

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) is accused of having broken a European Union anti-fraud directive on taxation of savings at source.

France, Belgium and Spain have taken the “HSBC list” investigations to another level. While the three countries have been investigating the accounts that emerged from the data handed over to France by a former HSBC employee in 2008, efforts are being made to indict the banking giant as a moral entity.

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