May 5, 2017

Spanish Court to Question Former HSBC Executives in Tax Probe Triggered by Whistleblower

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Spain’s High Court is to question seven former executives from HSBC’s Swiss private bank as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering and tax fraud triggered by tax information leaks from former employee turned whistleblower Herve Falciani.

The court said in a ruling that it had decided to widen the investigation to study the flow of funds from HSBC’s Swiss private bank to Spain’s Banco Santander and France’s BNP Paribas.  “These entities have collaborated to repatriate funds deposited in HSBC’s Swiss private bank with the aim of concealing them from Spanish tax authorities,” the court said in a separate statement.  The Spanish investigation is one of many by national tax authorities as a result of the leak in 2008 of client data belonging to HSBC’s private bank by Falciani, a former IT employee at the bank. France, Austria, Belgium and Argentina have launched their own investigations.

Falciani, a French citizen, is a whistleblower trying to help governments track down citizens who used Swiss accounts to evade tax. In 2015, a Swiss court sentenced him, in his absence, to five years in prison for aggravated industrial espionage. NYT

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