HSBC to pay €38m in Swiss laundering probe
HSBC said yesterday it had agreed to pay the authorities in Geneva 40 million Swiss francs (€38m) to settle an investigation into allegations of money laundering at its Swiss private bank.
The bank said in a statement that the payment is to compensate the authorities for past organisational failings and that no criminal charges would be filed. In February Geneva's public prosecutor searched HSBC's lakeside Swiss offices as part of its probe.
HSBC's Swiss unit has been in the spotlight ever since a former IT employee Hérvé Falciani fled Geneva in 2008 with files which were alleged to show evidence of tax evasion by some of the bank's clients.
Files were leaked to the media and published earlier this year, dragging Europe's largest lender into regulators' sights.
It is facing investigation by US and French authorities among others.
HSBC has apologised to customers and investors over the previous failings of its Swiss business and has said the operation has since been overhauled.
It said the Geneva prosecutor had acknowledged the progress the bank had made in recent years.
Switzerland's financial markets regulator FINMA had already found fault with HSBC in 2010-2011 for its poor internal controls and violations of money laundering guidelines.