Swiss authorities raid HSBC in money laundering probe

Swiss authorities raid HSBC in money laundering probe

Swiss authorities raid HSBC in money laundering probe

Swiss authorities on Wednesday raided the offices of British banking giant HSBC’s Swiss unit as part of a money laundering probe into the bank.

HSBC has been accused of helping clients dodge millions of dollars in taxes. The investigation comes just days after HSBC Switzerland found itself at the centre of a global scandal following the publication of secret documents claiming it assisted many of its wealthy clientèle in thwarting taxmen.

“A search is currently under way in the bank’s offices,” said Geneva’s top prosecutors in a statement.

The cache of files, made public in the so-called SwissLeaks case, claimed HSBC's Swiss private banking arm helped clients in more than 200 countries evade taxes on accounts containing $119 billion (€104 billion).

The files provided details on over 100,000 HSBC clients, including people targeted by US sanctions, suspected arms dealers and drug traffickers. A wide range of celebrities, politicians and business leaders were also named in the files, although their inclusion does not necessarily imply wrongdoing.

The documents, originally stolen by former HSBC IT worker Herve Falciani in 2007, state that billions of dollars transited through the bank as customers from around the world tried to dodge taxes or laundered dodgy proceeds through offshore shell corporations.

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