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France Banking Fraud

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HSBC should be tried for fraud – French prosecutor

A man walks past a HSBC bank branch in the City of London, Britain November 12, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

A French prosecutor has called for British banking giant HSBC to stand trial for aiding large-scale tax fraud in France, a source close to the investigation said Thursday.

If the case goes to trial, HSBC would face charges that its Swiss unit HSBC Private Banking offered its customers several ways of hiding assets from the French taxman, notably via the use of offshore tax havens.

The case began when French authorities in late 2008 received files stolen by Herve Falciani, a former HSBC employee, whose disclosures sparked the so-called "Swissleaks" scandal on bank-supported tax evasion.

The leaked files led to investigations by tax authorities in several European countries, including Spain and Belgium besides France.