'French court backs charges against HSBC in tax fraud probe'

The court rejected an appeal by HSBC that charges first brought in April for facilitating tax fraud and illegal practices be dropped, sources told AFP.

AFP| Last Updated: Feb 01, 2016, 22:52 PM IST

Paris: The Paris appeals court Monday confirmed charges against British banking giant HSBC Holdings PLC as part of a tax fraud probe, sources close to the case said.

The court rejected an appeal by HSBC that charges first brought in April for facilitating tax fraud and illegal practices be dropped, sources told AFP.

Investigating magistrates accuse HSBC of failing in its supervisory role over its Swiss unit HSBC Private Bank which is suspected of having set up tax fraud schemes for its customers, mostly French.

"We are disappointed by the outcome of the appeals procedure," HSBC said in a statement. "We will continue to defend ourselves vigorously."

HSBC Private Banking is suspected of offering its customers several ways of hiding assets from the French taxman, notably via the use of offshore tax havens.