HSBC whistleblower defends tax leak as fights
Send a link to a friend
[September 11, 2018]
MADRID (Reuters) - A whistleblower
fighting extradition to Switzerland for leaking details of thousands of
clients of HSBC's <HSBA.L> private bank there said on Tuesday his
actions had played a key role in helping other European countries
uncover tax frauds.
Spain's High Court is considering the Swiss extradition request against
Herve Falciani, a French citizen who worked for HSBC, over alleged
industrial sabotage in 2008.
Hailed as a hero by some for triggering investigations in several
countries, Swiss courts sentenced Falciani in absentia to five years in
jail for leaking details of HSBC clients, many of whom he said he
suspected were evading tax.
"I want to recognize the institutions with which I have been able to
collaborate (...) and this is why this court has played a fundamental
role in helping several European judicial authorities," Faliciani told
Spain's High Court.
Spanish Prosecutor Teresa Sandoval opposed the extradition request
partly because the charges included in the Swiss ruling are not
considered a crime in Spain.
"The truth is that the information that Mr. Falciani collected from the
bank was never transmitted to private individuals and only to official
organizations," Sandoval said.
[to top of second column]
Former HSBC employee Herve Falciani leaves High Court in Madrid,
Spain, May 28, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo
This stance was supported by Juan Ballarat, the lawyer representing Falciani
following his arrest in Madrid in April while on his way to speak at a
conference on whistleblowing.
Spain's High Court released Falciani from custody the day after his detention
but ordered him to remain in Spain while considering the extradition request.
France, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Argentina launched investigations based on
the information leaked by Falciani, but Swiss authorities insist the data was
stolen and therefore legally inadmissible.
Judicial sources told Reuters they expect the judge to issue a ruling on the
extradition request in the coming days or weeks.
(Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Belen Carreno; Editing by Alexander Smith)
[© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2018 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.