Nina Ricci perfume heiress convicted of tax fraud

Nina Ricci perfume heiress convicted of tax fraud

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The heiress to the Nina Ricci perfume and fashion fortune has been convicted of tax fraud by a Paris court after hiding millions in an offshore HSBC account.

Arlette Ricci, 73, was sentenced to a year in prison and ordered to pay a €1 million (£720,000;$1.1m) fine.

The court also confiscated two properties worth four million euros (£2.9m;$4.2m).

HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm is being investigated after a leak revealed large scale tax fraud.

Ms Ricci, who can appeal, was given a two-year suspended sentence on top of her one-year custodial sentence.

Her daughter, Margot Vignat, 51, was also convicted and given an eight-month suspended sentence.

Ms Ricci was accused of hiding millions of euros from the French authorities to evade tax using an offshore HSBC account.

She was ordered by the court to pay millions in back taxes for the period of 2007-2009, with the exact amount to be set at a later date.

Ms Ricci was the first of around 50 French nationals to face trial over tax evasion in the HSBC case. Her prosecution was seen as a test case for the so-called “Swissleaks” scandal.

A list of thousands of HSBC’s clients was passed to the French government in 2009 by whistleblower Herve Falciani, a former employee of the bank’s private operation in Switzerland.

The bank’s tax-evasion practices were reported in February by the BBC’s Panorama programme and a host of other international media outlets, leading to criminal investigations in the US, France, Belgium and Argentina but not in the UK, where HSBC is based.

The UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was given the leaked data in 2010 and identified 1,100 people from the list of 7,000 British clients who had not paid their taxes. But almost five years later, only one tax evader has been prosecuted.

In February, HSBC Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver admitted “unacceptable” practices had taken place at its Swiss arm.

Nina Ricci was born in Turin in 1883 as Maria Adelaide Nielli before settling down in France at age 12 and founding the Nina Ricci business with her son in 1932.

Source:Graphiconline

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