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This profile was last updated on 7/16/13  and contains information from public web pages.

Mr. Herve Falciani

Wrong Herve Falciani?



Employment History

53 Total References
Web References
Hervé Falciani blew a gaping ..., 16 July 2013 [cached]
Hervé Falciani blew a gaping hole in Swiss banking secrecy. The former systems engineer at HSBC (HBC)'s private bank in Geneva leaked details on thousands of client accounts to tax authorities in other countries, who say the data has helped them uncover some €200 billion ($260 billion) in tax fraud.
Switzerland considers him a criminal, though. For the past couple of years, Falciani has been hopscotching around Europe, one step ahead of Swiss extradition warrants.
I've been following his case for a while, and I finally caught up with him on Tuesday in Paris. We met at a café across from the Luxembourg Palace-home of the French Senate, where Falciani has been testifying behind closed doors to parliamentary committees investigating tax evasion and money laundering. At the table next to us sat four men, one wearing a discreet earpiece. Falciani explained that they are his bodyguards, assigned to him by the French government because he had received death threats.
Over lunch, he tells a story that has intriguing parallels to the Edward Snowden case-but also some baffling elements. Falciani, 41, says he started his career with HSBC in Monaco, then moved to Geneva, where HSBC assigned him to set up an electronic document-management system in its Swiss private bank. "After a time, I began to see serious problems," he says. "The bank was working mainly to protect its own profitability," while turning a blind eye to tax evasion and money laundering-which, in turn, is often linked to criminal activity and terrorism. Falciani says he alerted superiors to his concerns, but they didn't respond. (HSBC has previously denied receiving such warnings from him.)
Falciani's job didn't give him direct access to client accounts, he says, but colleagues began passing along client data to him. "I wasn't the only one to notice what was going on," he says. Falciani says he attempted to pass along the information to Swiss law-enforcement authorities, but was thwarted because they would not agree to protect his anonymity. Falciani says he then contacted intelligence services in several other countries. Why intelligence services? "I had started having doubts about Swiss justice," he says.
In 2007, he says, he was approached by agents from Mossad, the Israeli secret service. They offered to help him store the client data securely so it could be passed along to authorities in other countries. Why would the Israelis get involved? Falciani says they may have been interested in the clandestine financing of terrorism. However, he says he was never able to verify that the people he met actually worked for Mossad.
The story took another strange turn in February 2008, when Falciani flew to Lebanon. He tells me he met there with representatives of local banks, telling them that he worked for a computer-security company and wanted to alert them to security problems at Swiss banks. Why conceal his identity? Falciani says he was hoping the banks might become concerned about the situation and put pressure on the Swiss to make changes. (A former HSBC colleague who accompanied Falciani on the trip has said Falciani tried to sell information to Lebanese banks; Falciani denies this.)
Swiss authorities learned about the trip and placed Falciani under investigation. In the meantime, Falciani says, he began sharing the HSBC account data with authorities in other countries, including Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and the U.S. Fearing arrest, he fled to France. "I really felt I had no choice," he says.
Spain has aggressively used information provided by Falciani to track down tax evaders. In one of the most prominent cases, Emilio Botin, chairman of Banco Santander, agreed to a €200 million back-tax payment on a Swiss bank account, while maintaining he was unaware the account existed.
Falciani, who is half-French and half-Italian, says he decided to return to France because the Spanish courts had vindicated him. "Now I have a judge's ruling behind me," he says. Also, he says President François Hollande and his government are eager to get his advice on how to fight tax evasion and money laundering.
Falciani says he considers Snowden a kindred spirit. Like the former NSA contractor, he says, "I'm willing to take risks, to expose a problem and put in place the structures to fight it. Could his trove of data yield even more big surprises? "Without a doubt," he says. "Most of the investigations are just beginning."
Herve Falciani, a former ..., 15 April 2013 [cached]
Herve Falciani, a former HSBC worker wanted in Switzerland on allegations of stealing data on tens of thousands of Swiss bank accounts, appears before a High Court judge for extradition proceedings in San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid, April 15, ...
Due Diligence » White Collar Criminal, 26 Aug 2013 [cached]
Twice before we wrote about Herve Falciani, a former computer specialist for HSBC bank in Switzerland. Falciani is a fugitive from Swiss authorities but welcomed in other European countries. Why? Because he allegedly stole the names of 130,000 client names from his former employer; names that are probably responsible for billions in unreported foreign accounts and [...]
The post Tax Evasion Update - HSBC Whistleblower In High Demand appeared first on Due Diligence.
Twice before we wrote about Herve Falciani, a former computer specialist for HSBC bank in Switzerland. Falciani is a fugitive from Swiss authorities but welcomed in other European countries. Why? Because he allegedly stole the names of 130,000 client names from his former employer; names that are probably responsible for billions in unreported foreign accounts and hundreds of tax evasion cases across Europe and the world. (To see the original posts, check here and here.)
Since our last post, Falciani claims he is still hunted by Swiss authorities and that he was kidnapped by Israeli Mossad agents eager to learn the name of Israelis with unreported foreign accounts. The French government, which has long been aggressive in the hunt for tax evasion using offshore accounts, is reportedly providing him with armed bodyguards.
Spain claims Falciani's information lead to the collection of $345 million USD and identified 650 people guilty of tax evasion. That includes the head of banking giant Banco Santander.
Falciani already turned over his treasure trove of data to the IRS and Justice Department which used his information to exact a record $2 billion settlement with HSBC.
HMRC received the data from its ..., 7 May 2012 [cached]
HMRC received the data from its French counterparts after Herve Falciani, a former software technician at HSBC in Geneva, stole details on at least 24,000 accounts.
Hervé Falciani, a French ..., 16 July 2013 [cached]
Hervé Falciani, a French citizen and former employee of HSBC Private Bank in Geneva, has helped uncover an international tax evasion scandal.
July 16, 2013 12:06 PM
It was the most spectacular bank data leak of recent years: In 2008, former HSBC employee Hervé Falciani disappeared with the information of some 130,000 customers. He tells SPIEGEL he wants to help Europe hunt down its tax dodgers and expose a broken system.
At the end of 2008, Hervé Falciani committed what is believed to have been the most portentous theft of banking data in history. The systems engineer and former employee at the Geneva offices of HSBC left Switzerland for France and took data from around 130,000 customers at the Anglo-Asian bank along with him.
France's finance minister at the time, current International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, then handed data supplied by Falciani on to other
Falciani, 41, has also cooperated with the American authorities. Indeed, on the strength of the information he provided, HBSC was forced to pay a $1.9 billion settlement with the United States after a Senate committee found that failures in HSBC's money-laundering controls had enabled terrorists and drug cartels to gain access to the US financial system.
Last year, officials in Spain arrested Falciani in Barcelona. After a Spanish court rejected a Swiss extradition request for the Franco-Italian, he returned a few weeks ago to France, where examining magistrates have opened a new investigation into HSBC. SPIEGEL met with Falciani for an interview near Place d'Italie. He came wearing a beard and accompanied by three body guards with dark sunglasses. Flaciani says he is still the subject of a Swiss international arrest warrant.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Falciani, you have been on the run for years, after being accused of violating Switzerland's bank secrecy laws and causing serious difficulties for tax evaders and banks.
Falciani: Yes, in fact I have even tried to contact him. It's important that
Falciani: I grew up in Monaco, and in that environment going into the
Falciani: Banks such as HSBC have created a system for making themselves rich at the expense of society, by assisting in tax evasion and money laundering.
Falciani: The new French government has made the decision to work seriously
Falciani: Not seriously.
Falciani: That's true, but so far not even 1 percent of the information I
Falciani: I did, but to no avail. Most Swiss banks do have a whistleblower program, but they use it to punish those who avail themselves of it.
SPIEGEL: Did you also offer your information to German authorities?
Falciani: Three years ago, I offered my help and made direct contact through my lawyer.
Falciani: I ask myself the same question. We're talking about a total of 127,000 clients and over 300,000 accounts.
SPIEGEL: How many of those are from Germany?
Falciani: I'm not sure exactly.
Falciani: I hope they will be, because Germany plays a very important role in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.
Falciani: No, I don't.
Falciani: Banks have a strong self-preservation instinct and are quick to
Falciani: It is precisely such systemic questions that authorities in France
Falciani: That will only be possible if governments and authorities around
Falciani: At first glance, that appears to be true -- the US, for example,
Falciani: Let's say a Mexican drug lord has a bank account in Mexico that contains millions from the drug trade. He also has an account in Switzerland with nothing in it.
Falciani: I have continued to work in software research all this time.
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