Part of a list of alleged tax evaders and money launderers being investigated by French authorities was stolen from HSBC Private Bank in Geneva, the bank has confirmed.
Part of a list of 3,000 alleged French tax evaders being used by the French authorities to put pressure on Switzerland was stolen from HSBC Private Bank by a former employee, a French newspaper has reported.
Le Parisien reported on Wednesday that an employee working in the IT department at the Geneva branch of HSBC Private Bank stole the information in 2008 before fleeing to France.
The head of Switzerland's Association of Foreign Banks, Martin Maurer, on Wednesday confirmed some information was stolen from the Swiss branch last year.
At the time, French Budget Minister Eric Woerth said the list had been handed to the authorities "anonymously, it had not been paid for and had been done with the cooperation of the banks concerned."
The suspects have been given until the end of the year to pay overdue tax and will otherwise face an audit on an overall sum which Eric Woerth estimates at three billion euros.
Since the start of the global economic crisis, Switzerland has come under increasing pressure to reform its banking laws, which attract vast sums in deposits to the Alpine federation but frustrate foreign tax officials.
Date created : 2009-12-09