International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Will Herve Falciana Face His Day in Court?

Europe Online Magazine reports that: The Swiss Federal Criminal Court will start a trial against former HSBC bank employee Herve Falciani on October 12, on charges that his leaking of client data amounted to economic espionage, violation of bank secrecy laws, among other criminal charges.

Herve Falciani fled Switzerland in 2008 after leaking 100,000 HSBC's customers' financial information unto the Internet and into the hands of various foreign governments and other organizations.  He is reported to have been paid millions of dollars for the financial information.  See HSBC's Whistleblower Leaked Client Information Via Internet 

The high net wealth customer included a portion of tax evaders, money launderers, and politicians.  It is unclear what portion fell into the category of non-compliant and/or criminality and those that were collateral damage.

The case will be closely watched as it brings into question the balancing of many interests, by two examples: the protection of personal and financial data versus the disclosure of noncompliance and nefarious activities; protection against espionage versus whistleblowing.

Although it is reported that Herve Falciana states that he will appear in Court, it is unlikely given the severity of the criminal charges and the unlikelihood that countries that purchased the stolen financial data will extradite him to Switzerland.

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It is always worth commenting in this context that there is another "nobody knows": Nobody knows which French and European politicians and business leaders are part of the ~6000 names on the CD but are not part of the ~4500 names publicly disclosed.

Posted by: Patrick | Aug 27, 2015 2:58:57 AM

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