By Jonathan Davies

HSBC has reported a 17% fall in profits for 2014.

The bank, currently accused of helping hundreds of customers to avoid tax by using its Swiss business, reported profits of $18.68bn (£12.13bn), compared with $22.565bn in 2013.

HSBC blamed the sale of some subsidiaries, fines and legal settlements and the cost of reimbursing customers for the fall.

Its costs were up 6.1% to $37.85bn in 2014, with an increase in regulatory and compliance costs the biggest factors.

The figures come just hours after HSBC confirmed that its chief executive Stuart Gulliver uses a Swiss bank account to hold his bonuses. Although there are no suggestions of wrongdoing on Mr Gulliver's part, it adds to questions about HSBC's tax activities in the country.