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23 April 2024

Secret Swiss bank data comes from HSBC bank: report

A disk said to contain the names of some 1,300 Germans evading the taxman by parking funds in Switzerland comes from British bank HSBC, the Financial Times Deutschland reported Monday.

The paper said the secret informant was 37-year-old Herve Falciani, an IT specialist from HSBC private bank in Geneva, who last year handed over similar data to the French authorities.

Falciani reportedly wants 2.5 million euros ($3.5 million dollars) for the information, which could in turn net the German authorities some 100 million euros, the paper said, without naming its sources.

He was also at the heart of a similar spat between Switzerland and France resolved last week. Falciani had offered data concerning some 3,000 French taxpayers to the authorities.

But Switzerland, which guards its banking privacy laws jealously, demanded the return of the data, to which Paris eventually agreed.

The affair has prompted somewhat of a moral dilemma in Germany, with several politicians saying Berlin should not pay for stolen data. Others argued that the tax revenue that could be recouped was worth the price.

Nevertheless, there has been a precedent: in 2008, the German secret service paid five million euros for data stolen from Lichtenstein allowing authorities to pursue around 1,000 German tax evaders.

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