Belgian prosecutors have started a probe into whether Swiss banking group Credit Suisse facilitated tax dodging by more than 2,600 clients.

The investigation involves Belgian clients with Credit Suisse accounts held between 2003 and 2014. Belgian prosecutors received information from French authorities on the accounts last year.

The prosecutors’ spokesperson said that the investigators are now exploring whether the bank served as an illegal financial intermediary and aided money laundering.

The spokesman said the case concerned up to 2,650 Belgian clients, although some may have already declared their funds to the tax authorities.

Currently, the prosecutors are gathering information on the issue and have not pressed formal charges against the bank, the spokesperson noted.

In response, the bank said: “We strictly comply with all the applicable laws, rules and regulations in the markets in which we operate.”

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Last year, Credit Suisse’s rival UBS was fined €4.5bn in French tax evasion case.

The fine was equal to a year’s worth of profit at UBS.

The bank denied any misconduct in the matter, saying that the verdict was based on allegations of former employees instead of concrete evidence.

Also in 2019, the Swiss private banking unit of HSBC was fined around €294m to settle a Belgian criminal probe into tax evasion allegations.

Other legal tussles at Credit Suisse

In June last year, Credit Suisse was fined HK$2.8m by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong for various control failures.

In 2018, the bank was fined $10m for fraudulent trading activities.

The settlement resolved charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and New York attorney general (NYAG) Barbara Underwood that the bank mishandled customer orders in its now-shuttered retail execution services (RES) business.

In 2018, Credit Suisse was also fined around $77m to US regulators to resolve charges of offering jobs to friends and family of Chinese officials to win business opportunities.