A Belgian judge has charged the Swiss private banking arm of HSBC with tax fraud and money laundering, accusing the bank of offering wealthy clients ways of hiding their cash and evading tax, according to a report.
Reuters says that prosecutors said on Monday that the charges related to illegal business carried out by a Swiss unit of HSBC for wealth management clients, many of them from the Antwerp diamond trade.
"The Swiss bank is suspected of having knowingly eased and promoted fiscal fraud by making offshore companies available to certain privileged clients," prosecutors said in a statement.
The statement said that the offshore companies were based in Panama and the Virgin Islands, with no economic activity and their only aim was to hide the wealth of the bank's clients.
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