Herve Falciani, a former HSBC employee who has been convicted of violating bank secrecy laws in Switzerland, is facing potential extradition from Spain to Switzerland.
In 2008, Mr Falciani disclosed more than 100,000 account records to the French and other European authorities because, so he claimed, he believed that the account holders were evading tax. These records were then used to investigate tax evasion offences in over 28 countries including France, Spain, Belgium and Argentina. However, Swiss authorities said that the records were obtained illegally, and therefore, not admissible in any court. Subsequently, Mr Falciani was convicted by a Swiss court, in his absence, of obtaining data illegally and of breaching bank secrecy laws. He was sentenced to 5-years’ imprisonment.
In April 2018 Mr Falciani was arrested in Spain, when Swiss judicial authorities tried, for a second time to have him extradited to serve his custodial sentence.
On 11th September 2018, Mr Falciani submitted to the Spanish court that he should not be sent to Switzerland because an earlier extradition request had already been rejected in 2013 for lack of dual criminality, on the basis that a breach of banking secrecy was not a crime in Spain. He also argued that he could not be prosecuted for data extraction from the bank’s servers because he did not release the records to individuals, and instead chose to expose possible economic crimes to judicial and tax authorities. Mr Falciani relied on his cooperation with anti-corruption prosecutors in Spain and explained that it was his actions which allowed France to recover millions of euros in fines, and for the Belgian authorities to open a probe into the diamond market.