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HSBC reaches $192.4M settlement in US tax evasion probe

HSBC Holdings PLC has settled with the U.S. Justice Department to close an investigation into the role of HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA in assisting clients to hide assets to evade taxes.

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) agreed to pay about $192.4 million.

Both parties have agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement, during the scope of which the bank must demonstrate good conduct before the case is closed. The DOJ also said the agreement does not protect any individual from prosecution. The settlement closes an investigation into the bank's activities from at least 2000 to 2010.

The payment comprises $71.9 million of forfeited proceeds derived from illegal activities, $60.6 million of restitution to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and a $59.9 million penalty. HSBC also admitted to conspiring with U.S. taxpayers to evade taxes.

HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) CEO Alex Classen said the bank has bolstered its compliance, control framework and set out a "comprehensive client tax transparency policy."

The bank added that the settlement is fully provisioned.