A source close to events told AFP that the prosecutor’s recommendation names the former chief executive of HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm, Peter Braunwalder, along with another executive, Judah Elmaleh.
If the case goes to trial, HSBC would face charges that its private banking division offered customers several ways of hiding assets, particularly through offshore tax havens.
The bank has been accused of failing in its supervisory role over its private banking division, but further investigation led to suspicions that HSBC “participated actively in the fraudulent practices”, the source close to the investigation said.
An HSBC spokesman said: “The conclusions of the national financial prosecutor are duly noted, and we will continue our strong defence of our interests.”
The case dates back to 2008 when French authorities received stolen files from a former HSBC IT worker, Herve Falciani.
The documents leaked by the French-Italian national indicated that HSBC helped more than 120,000 clients hide €180.6bn between November 2006 and March 2007.
Falciani was sentenced in absentia in Switzerland to five years in prison for industrial espionage, data theft, and violating commercial and banking secrecy.
The fallout resulted in a number of investigations by tax authorities across Europe with varying degrees of success.
It was reported in February 2015 that despite 7,000 Brits being named on the ‘Falciani list’, only one had faced prosecution in the UK.