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HSBC said ordered by court to share US data with former staff
[GENEVA] A Swiss federal court ordered HSBC Holdings Plc to provide two former employees with copies of records that the bank has shared with US authorities investigating allegations of tax evasion.
The decision may have implications for thousands of bankers named in documents that US authorities have received from wealth-management companies seeking to avoid prosecution.
Obtaining the documents, which contain names and other details of current and former staff, enable bankers to "be armed in view of a possible action by the US Department of Justice," the court said in a statement on Wednesday.
The decision upholds a Geneva regional court ruling that the bank had contested, the statement said, without identifying the lender or the former employees, in line with its usual policy.
The bank in question is the Swiss unit of HSBC Holdings Plc, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be named as the court didn't identify the company. Patrick Humphris, a spokesman for HSBC in Geneva, declined to comment.
HSBC's Swiss unit is one of a dozen private banks in Switzerland seeking to resolve accusations by the Justice Department they helped Americans hide untaxed money offshore.
The bank has turned over information about its past US cross-border business practices, cooperation that may help it avoid an indictment and limit a potential fine.
Twenty-five offshore bankers, lawyers and advisers, mostly living in Switzerland, have yet to answer Justice Department charges that they helped Americans evade taxes.