A French prosecutor has requested HSBC’s Swiss private bank be sent to a criminal trial to face charges over a suspected tax avoidance scheme.
HSBC had been the subject of an investigation from French magistrates into alleged tax fraud involving 3,000 French taxpayers which ended last month.
The under-fire bank now has a month to respond after which French magistrates will take the final decision on whether to hold a criminal trial.
Today HSBC told the Guardian: “This is a normal step in the judicial procedure and the outcome of the matter is not determined as of today.”
Last week it was reported that HSBC refused a plea deal which would have seen it pay €1.4bn (£1bn) and avoid a trial.
The bank has been rocked by reports from a number of news outlets including the Guardian and Le Monde which allege that its Swiss banking arm helped clients around the world dodge taxes. The disclosures relate to accounts holding over £67bn.