Finally, Swiss prosecutors have started a money-laundering investigation against the HSBC Private Bank accused of helping clients in evading millions of dollars in taxes.
“Following the recent revelations related to the HSBC Private Bank (Switzerland), the public prosecutor announces the opening of a criminal procedure against the bank… for aggravated money laundering,” Geneva prosecutors said in a statement.
Prosecution General Oliver Jornot along with other top prosecutors said they have opened a case and searched HSBC’s office in Geneva, today. The bank is also alleged to help French HSBC fund manager in running a network of drug trafficking. Several reports suggest that Nessim el-Maleh was the middleman in the probe who sell marijuana to poor peoples and the money obtained was taken to people in the French capital, from there the cash was deposited in the Swiss accounts thus, evading taxes.
The bank came into limelight after massive global scandal of publication of secret documents. According to cache files made public, HSBC Bank helped its clients in more than 200 countries in evading more than $119 billion. The file includes the name of celebrities, alleged arms dealers and politicians. These files were reportedly stolen by former HSBC IT worker Herve Falciani, in 2007 who was sentenced a two-year jail by the French government in 2013.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has jumped into the case and said “the affair has served to reinforce the importance of firms operating with the right culture across all of their operations.” It added: “The FCA is working closely with the firm and other agencies which have an interest in this matter to ensure that any questions this may raise in relation to any current practices and culture of HSBC are addressed.” HSBC might evade any imposed fine as it is outside the FCA’s jurisdiction.
Moreover, while apologising for the scandal, HSBC sent a praising letter to its working staff that includes more than 250,000 workers for tirelessly working with great dedication.