Ricci perfumes heiress guilty in tax fraud case

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Paris - A Paris court on Monday found the heiress of the Nina Ricci perfume and fashion business guilty of tax fraud in a high-profile trial prompted by leaked lists of people who used the services of HSBC bank in Switzerland.

Arlette Ricci, 73-year-old granddaughter of Nina Ricci, was sentenced to three years in jail with one year suspended and ordered to pay a fine of €1m in a verdict read out by a judge at a criminal court.

She was tried on charges that she hid more than $22m from the French tax authorities using accounts and offshore entities based in Panama.

HSBC's Swiss subsidiary is itself being pursued by French magistrates who suspect it of large-scale tax fraud. HSBC Holdings was ordered last week to post a bail bond of €1bn to cover possible fines in a move it said was legally groundless.

In an affair dubbed "Swissleaks", HSBC's Swiss private bank unit is being pursued along with scores of wealthy individuals whose names appeared on lists of some 3 000 client names leaked to French authorities by a former HSBC employee, Herve Falciani.

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