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Belgian investigating judge threatens HSBC directors with arrest warrants over tax case

BRUSSELS – A Belgian investigating judge is considering arrest warrants against some former and current officials of the HSBC bank if co-operation in a fraud investigation does not improve.

Last November, Belgian authorities charged a Swiss private banking branch of HSBC with massive organized fiscal fraud, money laundering and forming a criminal organization to the benefit of over 1,000 wealthy clients that cost the Belgian authorities hundreds of millions of euros.

Magistrate Ine Van Wymersch said Monday that the investigating judge leading the case had not received sufficient answers from Switzerland. Barring improved co-operation, “the investigating judge is considering issuing an international arrest warrant for former, but perhaps also current, directors of the bank,” Van Wymersch said.

The comments come as a report published Monday shows HSBC helped clients globally avoid taxes.