'Sentencing Changes Nothing, Will Help Black Money Probe,' Says Herve Falciani

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After an interview on NDTV, the whistleblower was contacted by Indian authorities for the black money probe and has been in touch with them since.


Bellinzona:  Undeterred after being sentenced to five years in prison by a Swiss court, whistleblower Herve Falciani who leaked HSBC Bank data, has told NDTV that the verdict "changes nothing".

Mr Falciani said he will still cooperate with countries, including India, in investigations into tax evasion and unaccounted wealth.

"Nothing has changed from my side. Switzerland is defending its interests. I will make an appeal to European Human Rights Court," he said.

Asked if he will appeal in a higher court in Switzerland, he accused those prosecuting him of "financial terror" and said, "I don't negotiate with terrorists."

Mr Falciani was facing triple charges at the Bellinzona Federal Criminal court in Switzerland, for data theft, industrial espionage and violation of banking secrecy.

The trial took place in absentia in the Swiss Federal Court in Bellinzona.  The 43-year-old French-Italian national refused to appear in court saying "conditions for fair trial" were missing. He was not in touch with the state appointed lawyer who represented him in court.

Mr Falciani has an Interpol arrest warrant at the behest of Switzerland, but makes  occasional appearances in France, Italy and Spain. In 2013, he was arrested in Spain and spend five and a half months in prison. Spanish courts refused to extradite him after judges said Mr Falciani's data had revealed that HSBC was a tax haven in itself.

After an interview on NDTV in November 2014, the whistleblower was contacted by Indian authorities for the black money probe and has been in touch with them since.

Experts say the ruling shows Switzerland's is sending a message that its banking secrecy is still strong. HSBC was let off with a fine of $43 million even though several counties have indicted the bank for large scale tax evasion and money laundering.

The data leaked by Mr Falciani, a former HSBC employee, led to the "Swissleaks" scandal on bank-supported tax evasion. France had shared his data with more than 30 countries.

The former HSBC employee leaked a cache of data allegedly indicating the bank's Swiss private banking arm helped more than 120,000 clients hide 180.6 billion euros from tax authorities.


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