HSBC Admits Its Swiss Bank Helped Clients Conceal Assets

HSBC admitted failings by its Swiss subsidiary in response to media reports that it helped wealthy customers evade taxes and conceal millions of dollars in assets. "We acknowledge and are accountable for past compliance and control failures," HSBC said in a statement. French newspaper Le Monde and Britain's The Guardian, published allegations about HSBC's Swiss private bank, citing documents obtained. HSBC said its Swiss arm had not been fully integrated into HSBC after its purchase in 1999, allowing "significantly lower" standards of compliance and due diligence to persist. In addition, it said the Swiss private banking industry, long known for its secrecy, operated differently in the past and that this may have resulted in HSBC's having had "a number of clients that may not have been fully compliant with their applicable tax obligations."

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