PARIS (AFP) – Credit Suisse has agreed to pay EUR238 million (USD234 million) to avoid prosecution on French money laundering and tax fraud charges, according to a settlement approved yesterday by a Paris court.
The settlement will see Switzerland’s second-largest bank pay a fine of EUR123 million and pay an additional EUR115 million in damages and interest to the French state.
Credit Suisse said it had reached the settlement “to resolve a legacy matter in relation to an investigation into historical cross-border private-banking services”.
It added that “the settlement does not comprise a recognition of criminal liability”.
French financial prosecutors opened a probe in 2016 and found that 5,000 French nationals had undeclared Credit Suisse accounts that were hiding EUR2 billion, according to the court.
The judge presiding over the settlement said that Credit Suisse bankers had prospected for clients in high-end French restaurants and hotels, avoiding the bank’s offices in the country.
Prosecutor Francois-Xavier Dulin said the settlement took into account “the systematic character, lengthy period and creation of tools to hide” its prospecting of French clients between 2005 and 2012.
He said Credit Suisse had created offshore entities to aid clients to avoid declaring certain assets to French authorities.
Prosecutors added the settlement also took into account the bank’s current cooperation and the corrective measures it undertook.
“The bank is pleased to resolve this matter, which marks another important step in the proactive resolution of litigation and legacy issues,” Credit Suisse said in its statement.