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Switzerland charges former HSBC analyst with industrial espionage

Friday, December 12th 2014 - 06:43 UTC
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Herve Falciani gave prosecutors in France and Spain data on thousands of Swiss bank accounts. Herve Falciani gave prosecutors in France and Spain data on thousands of Swiss bank accounts.

Switzerland has charged a former computer analyst at HSBC's private bank in Geneva with industrial espionage and breaching the country's secrecy laws for passing confidential client data to foreign authorities.

 Herve Falciani gave prosecutors in France and Spain data on thousands of Swiss bank accounts. He had previously told news agency Reuters that he is a whistleblower trying to help governments track down citizens who used accounts in Switzerland to evade paying tax.

But Switzerland's attorney general said today that Falciani, who now lives in France, had tried to profit from the data. It accused him of trying to sell the information to banks in Lebanon.

“Sometimes celebrated as a hero abroad, the Franco-Italian national is now to answer for his alleged crimes before a Swiss court. The Swiss Criminal Procedure Code does not exclude the possibility of holding a court trial of the accused person in absentia,” the attorney general's office said in a statement.

The attorney general said that HSBC and several bank customers were also taking part in the proceedings as private claimants.

HSBC has previously disputed various aspects of Falciani's story, from his contention that he is a whistleblower - the bank contends he tried to sell the data he absconded with and only cooperated with prosecutors when he was arrested in Spain to face extradition charges.

HSBC has also denied any role in helping clients avoid taxes.

The list of HSBC clients supplied by Falciani has prompted investigations across the globe. Last month, Argentina charged HSBC with helping more than 4,000 clients evade taxes via secret Swiss bank accounts and a Belgian judge charged HSBC's Swiss private bank with tax fraud and money laundering.

French prosecutors are also probing whether HSBC offered illicit products to help French clients avoid tax.

Monaco-born Falciani, who has French and Italian citizenship, collected data on HSBC account holders when he worked in its information technology department from 2006 to 2008.

Categories: Economy, International.

Top Comments

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  • falklandlad

    So might he know about Cristina's alleged hoardings as well?

    Dec 12th, 2014 - 09:46 am 0
  • Klingon

    So this guy tries to make a few bucks selling data of Mega rich thieves and the government is all over his ass. Meanwhile the Mega rich walk free with their hordings.
    Not quite justice is it?

    Dec 12th, 2014 - 03:18 pm 0
  • ilsen

    That is not a nice thing to say about your Great Leader.
    Be careful or she will put you in the gulag. ...

    Dec 12th, 2014 - 04:18 pm 0
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