Daily Management Review

Former HSBC chief pledges guilty in € 1.6 bln tax evasion


08/08/2019


The Paris court fined € 500 thousand and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one year Head of the Swiss HSBC affiliate for wealthy clients Peter Braunwalder.



Håkan Dahlström via flickr
Håkan Dahlström via flickr
The court decision was made in January 2019, but was published only now. According to Bloomberg, referring to the court document, the former banker pleaded guilty in the fact that in 2006-2007 he helped wealthy clients of the unit evade taxes for a total amount of at least € 1.6 billion. To do this, he opened illegal accounts in Swiss Bank, created offshore companies or issued fictitious loans. In addition, he confessed that he himself was looking for customers living in France, and suggested that they transfer funds to Switzerland in order to evade taxes.

Mr. Braunwalder’s activities came to light back in 2008 after  a former computer engineer at the Swiss HSBC division, Hervé Falciani, stole customer data and passed it on to the French authorities. After years of investigation, HSBC agreed with France to settle claims, agreeing to pay € 300 million in 2017. As Paris lawyer Marion Lambert-Barret noted in an interview with Bloomberg, the decision on Braunwalder is a clear warning: “Even if the company settles the claims, the prosecutor’s office will seek recognition of the guilt of individual defendants in order to punish them for those actions that it considers to be fraudulent.” At the same time, the lawyer noted, even plea of guilty does not necessarily lead to leniency.

source: bloomberg.com






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