HSBC to Keep Monaco Private Bank Following Approaches for Unit

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s largest bank, said it will keep its Monaco private bank after reviewing interest to buy the unit.

HSBC is committed to global private banking as one of its four businesses, the London-based bank said today in a statement. A unit of Safra Group approached HSBC to buy the Monaco unit, which the Safra family once owned, three people familiar with the matter said last month.

The Monaco unit may be valued at $600 million to $700 million, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. HSBC also made informal approaches to potential buyers for parts of its Swiss private bank, one of the people said.

HSBC has attracted scrutiny from governments over its operations in low-tax jurisdictions, with U.K. authorities saying last year that they were acting on information about accounts at the bank’s Geneva office.

The bank bought the Monaco private-bank businesses in 1999 through its $9.85 billion acquisition of Edmond J. Safra’s Republic New York Corp. and Safra Republic Holdings SA. Safra died in a Monaco fire later that year.

-- Editors: Jon Menon, Simone Meier

To contact the reporter on this story: Howard Mustoe in London at hmustoe@bloomberg.net.

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