In France, Former HSBC Chief Avoids Jail, Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

By Gabriel Vedrenne

In November 2017, HSBC's Swiss branch became the first company to defer prosecution in France under a U.S.-styled legal mechanism after helping more than 100,000 clients, including nearly 9,000 French taxpayers, conceal billions of euros in a scheme that ran for several years. On Thursday, Peter Braunwalder, former chief executive of the branch, HSBC Private Bank, blazed a new trail of his own, becoming the first banker to avoid jailtime in France under a related mechanism, the "comparution sur reconnaissance prealable de culpabilite," or CRPC, by pleading guilty to unlawful financial solicitation and laundering the proceeds of tax fraud. Accused...