The appeals court in Paris has drastically reduced the bond demanded of British banking giant HSBC in connection with a major tax fraud investigation, the bank and judicial sources said Monday.
The court reduced the bond to 100 million euros ($112 million), from the original sum of one billion euros, the HSBC Group said in a statement sent to AFP. The decision was also confirmed by judicial sources.
Back in April the bank had been placed under formal criminal investigation by French magistrates over the conduct of HSBC's Swiss Private Bank in 2006 and 2007 for alleged tax-related offences.
The so-called "SwissLeaks" affair involved claims that the HSBC unit in Switzerland allegedly helped over 120,000 clients to hide 180.6 billion euros ($193.6 billion) from tax authorities.
The allegations were made in February by international newspapers led by France's Le Monde after they studied stolen documents supplied by former HSBC IT employee Herve Falciani.