WASHINGTON (Reuters) - HSBC Holdings Plc will pay $12.5 million to resolve charges that its Swiss private banking unit illegally offered services to U.S. clients without being properly registered, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.
HSBC Private Bank agreed to admit wrongdoing to settle the claims, the latest in a series of cases U.S. authorities have brought against Swiss banks which helped Americans keep money in overseas accounts, often meant to evade paying taxes.
Credit Suisse AG earlier this year paid $196 million to resolve claims from the SEC that it provided cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to U.S. clients without first registering with the regulator.
The SEC said HSBC's Swiss unit amassed 368 U.S. client accounts, and its employees traveled to the United States at least 40 times to solicit clients and provide investment advice without being registered.
The HSBC unit decided to exit the U.S. cross-border business in 2010, the SEC said.
A HSBC representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha in Washington and Jonathan Stempel in New York and; Editing by Tom Brown and Richard Chang)