Swiss prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they had opened a money laundering investigation against HSBC’s Swiss private bank and searched its premises in Geneva.
The search came after media reports that the Swiss branch of the major British lender helped wealthy clients evade millions of dollars in taxes.
According to reports, this include several clients of the bank linked to crimes such as arms trafficking and corruption.
The media investigation was based on client data that a former HSBC computer expert had handed to French tax authorities.
HSBC admitted last week that a number of its clients had taken advantage of Swiss banking secrecy rules to evade taxes.
It said that it had closed accounts held by such customers and that it had overhauled its business model.
The 60,000 leaked files contain details of about 100,000 HSBC accounts holding more than 100 billion dollars.
HSBC, a British multinational banking and financial services company has its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s second largest bank.
As of 31 December 2013, the bank had total assets of 2.671 trillion dollars, of which roughly half were in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and a quarter in each of Asia-Pacific and the Americas.