HSBC share price: Nina Ricci heir found guilty of tax evasion after Swissleaks
The heiress to the Nina Ricci perfume and fashion business has been found guilty of hiding money from the French tax authorities in a high-profile case prompted by the leaking of client details from HSBC Holding Plc (LON:HSBA) Swiss private bank. Arlette Ricci, 73, was sentenced by a Paris court yesterday to serve three years in jail, two of them suspended. The granddaughter of designer Nina Ricci was also ordered to pay €1 million in fines and had two properties in Paris and Corsica confiscated.
Ricci was among thousands of suspected tax evaders on a list of accounts at HSBC Switzerland that was obtained by French authorities from a former HSBC employee in 2010. During the trial, Ricci was accused of hiding €18 million from the French authorities. She had denied the accusations, but ultimately the court rejected her claims that the measures taken to minimise her tax bill were legal.
“The seriousness of the facts are an exceptional threat to public order and the republican pact,”read the judgement in a verdict that could set an important precedent for the other French nationals on trial following the HSBC leaks.
The judgement comes just a few days after France launched a formal criminal investigation against HSBC’s Swiss private bank, in relation to the tax evasion allegations. The French authorities ordered HSBC to pay post a bail bond of €1 billion to cover possible fines. The move was disputed by the UK-based lender, which said that the magistrates’ decision was legally groundless and called the bail “unwarranted and excessive”.
In today’s trading, HSBC shares were down 0.1 percent at617.30p, as of 10:40 BST. The stock has advanced 1.5 percent since the start of the year and the company’s market capitalisation currently stands at £118.3 billion.
As of 13:01 BST, Tuesday, 14 April, HSBC Holdings plc share price is 619.90p.