HSBC profits bounce back as fraud inquiry looms

Alice Tidey | CNBC

HSBC reported a better-than-expected rise in pre-tax profit for the first quarter of the year, to $7.06 billion, after its investment banking division had a more profitable three months than forecast.

The news, which sent HSBC shares higher when first announced Tuesday, comes just days after the bank's annual general meeting (AGM), at which it said that it was considering moving its HQ from London.

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There was no comment on the potential relocation, or a rumored spin-off of the bank's U.K. retail division, in its announcement. The bank will pay its shareholders, who are increasingly eager to find out more about the bank's restructuring, a dividend of $0.10 per share for the quarter.

HSBC's Swiss private banking division is currently under investigation over allegations of tax evasion, tax fraud and money laundering by several regulators and authorities.

The bank confirmed that the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority has issued a request for information over the alleged misdeeds at its Swiss division, and that French magistrates have placed it under formal criminal investigation by the French magistrates, a decision which the bank is appealing.