The ongoing saga of Herve Falciani continues with the whistleblower due to appear in a Spanish court this Tuesday. Falciani is fighting extradition to Switzerland.
For those of you not in the know, Falciani’s case stretches back to 2008 when he was working for HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland. That year, he leaked thousands of client documents to the public.
The purpose of this was to highlight many individuals who – Falciani claimed – were evading tax in their home countries. Hailed by many Bernie Bro types as a hero, others were less pleased with his behaviour.
Swiss authorities launched a case against him for industrial sabotage and violating bank secrecy laws. In November 2015, he was sentenced to five years in prison – the longest sentence ever given to someone for such crimes.
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The name’s Falciani, Herve Falciani
Since he released the data, Falciani has been living the life of a supporting character in a James Bond film. He was purportedly advised to flee from France to Spain by the US government. Supposedly it would have been easy for someone to kill him in France.
He also claimed that members of the Mossad – Israel’s foreign intelligence agency – kidnapped him. Whether there is any merit to those claims is unclear. It should be noted that the Mossad seems to be the bugbear of nutjobs everywhere – along with the lizard people and the CIA.
At any rate, the data Falciani gave to foreign authorities wasn’t by any means useless. France, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Argentina all launched investigations based on it. Swiss authorities, however, claim the data is stolen and can’t be used in legal cases.
Falciani was arrested in April by Spanish authorities. He was released the next day but had to stay in the country while the case for his extradition was considered. According to Reuters, the judge in his case is likely to reach a decision in the coming days – perhaps even this Tuesday.