HSBC has been placed under formal criminal investigation by French magistrates over allegations its Swiss private bank helped customers dodge tax.
It has been ordered to pay a one billion euro bail to cover any potential fine.
HSBC responded by saying the decision was, “without legal basis and the bail is unwarranted and excessive.” The bank added it intends to appeal.
The French claims relate to the conduct of the Swiss bank in 2006 and 2007. It has come under fire over what it knew about some client’s tax affairs.
In the UK information about 3,600 account holders was passed to HMRC.