HSBC to pay $43 million to settle Swiss money laundering probe of private bank branch

HSBC says it will pay 40 million Swiss francs ($43 million) to settle a money laundering investigation by Geneva prosecutors into its Swiss subsidiary.

Prosecutors have said they were investigating HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA and persons unknown for suspected aggravated money laundering. The investigation unfolded after an ex-employee leaked a list of thousands of suspected tax evaders to French authorities in 2008.

France shared the list with other governments and launched investigations, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and news organizations found that the bank hid millions of dollars to help wealthy people dodge taxes.

In a statement Thursday, HSBC says it has improved practices to keep clients from using the bank "to evade taxes or launder money," and drastically reduced the number of accounts.