HSBC pays £28m to settle Swiss money laundering probe

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HSBC has reached a deal to pay £28m (40m CHF) to close an investigation into alleged tax evasion and money laundering at the bank.

The deal closes a probe launched by Geneva authorities with a raid on the firm’s Swiss private bank headquarters.

The Swiss investigation began after reports revealed claims of HSBC-aided tax evasion in Geneva linked to a list of clients which was leaked to authorities by whistleblower Herve Falciani.

In a statement, the bank says that neither the bank nor its employees are suspected of any current criminal offences, with the sum paid to authorities to account for “past organisational deficiencies”.

HSBC says it has acknowledged that compliance and standards of due diligence were previously less robust, but adds that it has since undergone a radical transformation, including reducing its client base by 70 per cent and focusing on core markets.

“The Geneva Prosecutor acknowledges the progress the bank has made in recent years, including the improvements in its compliance function, internal processes and technology,” HSBC says.