Banking secrecy

The critical case of Hervé Falciani

Published on 16 April 2013 at 13:06

“In all likelihood, Hervé Falciani will not be extradited to Switzerland,” reports Le Temps. The former employee of the Swiss branch of HSBC, who, in 2008, delivered details of 130,000 accounts held at the bank by EU nationals to French authorities, appeared before the National Court in Madrid on April 15.

The court will respond to a Swiss demand to extradite Falciani who has been charged with the theft of personal data and violations of trade and banking secrecy. “The court lept to the defence of Hervé Falciani,” notes the Genevan daily, which explains that the prosecutor “is basing his case on Spanish legislation, which stipulates that non-cooperation with tax authorities is in itself a crime.”

In Madrid, El País voices support for this position

The fundamental question is to determine to what extent banking secrecy should be protected when it is used to hide fraudsters, and if the existence of tax havens and states whose banking systems are marked various levels of opacity does not place an unbearable burden on other societies. Nobody likes to depend on hacked data, but it would be much harder to find fraudsters without internal information from the entities that make fraudulent behaviour possible.

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