I am not familiar with the Swiss criminal system (nor its civil system either), so I cannot offer meaningful comment beyond that presented in the article. The excerpts I found particularly meaningful from my perspective are:
The French financial state prosecutor has requested that HSBC’s Swiss private bank be sent to criminal trial over a suspected tax-dodging scheme for wealthy customers.
The recommendation follows a lengthy investigation by local magistrates into alleged tax fraud involving 3,000 French taxpayers and is a procedural step that brings the Swiss banking arm one step closer to a possible trial in France.
The parent company HSBC, which faces a separate ongoing French investigation, said: “This is a normal step in the judicial procedure and the outcome of the matter is not determined as of today.”
The bank has one month to respond after which French magistrates will take the final decision on whether to hold a trial.
Le Monde reported that HSBC refused a plea deal that would have avoided a trial. It said HSBC would have had to pay a €1.4bn fine as part of that deal.
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The scandal at HSBC’s Swiss bank came to light when the Guardian and other media organisations around the world published revelations from leaked files. The files showed that the Swiss operation enabled clients to evade and aggressively avoid taxes and withdraw “bricks” of cash without question.
HSBC faces 10 separate inquiries around the world into the scandal. The US Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against the bank and its clients and the bank is under investigation in Brazil, India, Belgium and other jurisdictions.The article notes that one Swiss prominent French citizen, her daughter and an accountant have already been tried in "a special new Paris court to deal with tax fraud." The trial has been held and the prosecutor has recommend that the prominent French citizen be sentenced to two years in prison. (I wonder whether inmates in French prisons or other incarceration facilities can get the occasional glass of wine.)
Thanks to gottaloveUStax1 for calling the article to our attention.
Please note that I have used a tag called offshore evasion. That was meaningful when the Swiss bank brouhaha erupted in the U.S., the first to bring the force of justice to banks which were then offshore. Perhaps a better description now that other countries aggrieved by Swiss bank (and other country bank) misbehavior have joined the fray would be cross-border evasion that might even include too aggressive transfer pricing.