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Returning fire Bank whistleblower faces criminal backlash

A former private banker has been arrested in Switzerland on suspicion of breaking secrecy laws after blowing the whistle on undeclared accounts held by ex-French budget minister Jerôme Cahuzac.

The former Reyl & Cie employee also told the media that he knew of other tax dodging funds hidden away by other French ministers or ex-ministers. He was detained on July 5, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on Saturday.

Reyl & Cie said it had pressed criminal charges last month, saying that its former worker had falsified documents and violated Swiss banking secrecy laws.

The claims of assisting tax evaders, along with allegations that it was implicated in hiding non-declared funds of Cahuzac, led to the Paris authorities opening an investigation into Reyl in May.

Reyl said it was left with “no alternative” after the French media were contacted by its former employee. The bank also stressed in a media release on Saturday that it held no accounts of French politicians.

Complaints mount

The charges are the latest in a string of criminal complaints against former Swiss bankers that have handed over confidential details of clients to other countries.

In June, a former Julius Baer IT worker was charged by canton Zurich prosecutors for allegedly selling information to the German tax authorities.

Last year Switzerland demanded the arrest of German tax officials for their role in buying Swiss bank data.

Switzerland also tried unsuccessfully to extradite former HSBC employee Hervé Falciani from Spain after he stole client information from the Geneva branch of the bank.

On the other side of the coin, several Swiss bankers, lawyers and other financial advisors have been indicted in the United States on charges of aiding and abetting US tax cheats.

swissinfo.ch


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