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France to hand over stolen HSBC data

French justice authorities have agreed to provide Switzerland with client data stolen from the offshore private banking headquarters of Britain’s HSBC bank in Geneva.

The decision by the public prosecutor in Aix-en-Provence follows a judicial request by Swiss justice authorities. It was announced on Monday and confirmed by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s office.

However, the Swiss finance ministry said the handover would not affect the government's decision to suspend the ratification process of a new dual taxation agreement with France.

The data was taken by Herve Falciani, a former information technology specialist, in 2006 and 2007 and handed over to French tax authorities who subsequently opened an inquiry into money laundering.

In a parallel process, Switzerland has accused Falciani of having hacked the data from the bank’s computers.

“We are on two different paths. Investigations could continue on both sides,” the French prosecutor general François Faletti said. The handover of data is expected to take place “very quickly”.

HSBC confirmed earlier this month that an ex-employee stole client data from its Swiss private bank in 2006 and 2007. Falciani later identified himself as that ex-employee.

The bank has filed a criminal complaint with the Swiss authorities.

A key parliamentary committee is also due to discuss the issue in a meeting on January 20.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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