The Swiss branch of HSBC’s private bank has been fined almost CHF200 million by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for having helped American clients evade tax between 2000 and 2010.
HSBC’s Swiss private banking unit confirmed the $192.35 million (CHF189.6 million) fine handed down by a district court in Florida on Tuesday.
The bank admitted to holding $1.26 billion in undeclared assets for wealthy American clients over the period 2000-2010. To help them evade tax, it devised fraudulent strategies and presented false documents to US tax authorities.
See full statement here
The fines are part of a long-running series of legal actions against Swiss banks that helped US clients to evade tax: for example, Credit Suisse previously paid $2.6 billion, Julius Bär $547 million, the Zurich Cantonal Bank $98.5 million, and the Basel Cantonal Bank $60.4 million.
However, HSBC is one of the last remaining so-called ‘category 1’ banks to have its case settled by US authorities. Geneva-based private bank Pictet and Zurich-based Rahn+Bodmer are still awaiting a conclusion.