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France gives back stolen HSBC bank data

France has returned client data to Switzerland that was stolen from HSBC’s private bank in Geneva.

This content was published on January 21, 2010 - 17:26

A French justice ministry spokesman told the Swiss News Agency that France would keep copies and in some cases the original documents for its own investigation.

“The documents requested by Switzerland were returned to the Swiss authorities,” said the spokesman without indicating when the data was handed back or how much.

The announcement comes a day after the Swiss finance ministry said it would not cooperate with foreign authorities on tax cases where client data had been stolen from banks.

"This refers specifically to the case of HSBC of course," a finance ministry spokesman told the Reuters news agency.

HSBC said in December that a former employee had stolen client data from its Swiss private bank's headquarters in 2006 and 2007, a breach of Swiss bank secrecy.

This admission sparked a diplomatic row with France, leading the Swiss government to freeze negotiations for a new bilateral tax agreement.

Switzerland’s private banks have been lobbying the government to introduce clauses banning the use of stolen bank data in a raft of tax cooperation treaties it is negotiating.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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