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(Bloomberg) -- Herve Falciani, the former HSBC employee who triggered tax evasion probes by several countries after leaking private bank account data, was arrested by Spanish police following a request by Swiss authorities.

Judiciary police detained Falciani in Madrid on Wednesday, a police spokesman said by phone, after Swiss authorities issued a petition for extradition on March 19. Falciani, a French citizen, had avoided his arrest until now by staying out of Switzerland. Swiss authorities argued for his extradition on the grounds that he has a prison sentence pending against him in the Alpine nation.

He was found guilty of corporate espionage and given a five-year prison sentence by a Swiss court in absentia in 2015 after taking a trove of data from HSBC’s Swiss unit that spawned investigations by French, Belgian, U.S. and U.K. authorities into tax evasion. HSBC agreed to a penalty of 40 million Swiss francs ($41.7 million) to end a probe by the Geneva prosecutor’s office and avoid criminal charges.

Swiss authorities concluded Falciani sought to profit from the data he took from the bank, showing criminal behavior in his attempt to sell the information to a third party. HSBC’s legal team in the Falciani case argued his action constituted theft.

A Spanish court rejected his extradition in 2013 on the basis that the crimes he was being accused of weren’t subject to prosecution in Spain. Spain’s judiciary is seeking two pro-independence leaders who fled the nation for Switzerland earlier this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Tadeo in Madrid at mtadeo@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, James Kraus, Robert Jameson

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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