His real name is Hervé Falciani, who worked as a systems engineer at the Geneva-based private banking unit of HSBC (HBC).
The bank would later discover, to their horror that he
had in fact carried out one of the biggest security breaches in Swiss banking history, obtaining details on the accounts of some 24,000 HSBC private-banking clients.
The account data later was passed along to tax authorities in European countries-including France, Spain, and the U.K.-who have used it to collect more than €1 billion ($1.34 billion) in back taxes.
says the data has also provided leads for ongoing investigations of corruption, money laundering, and terrorist financing.
The Geneva bank provided an "open door" for such illicit activity, Falciani
told a Spanish court earlier this year.
Towards the end of 2008 he
slipped out Geneva and has been skipping from one European country to the next, ever since: constantly staying just one step ahead of the Swiss prosecutors, who have accused him of massive data theft - a charge which could earn him up to three years in prison, should the Swiss authorities manage to capture him.
initially went to Spain, where the Spanish authorities refused to cooperate with the Swiss prosecutors - refusing their requests for extradition.
In fact he was praised, by a Spanish prosecutor as a whistleblower.
later moved to France, last summer in 2014, where he
has testified (behind closed doors) to various French parliamentary committees.
Falciani, who has dual French and Italian citizenship, joined HSBC in 2000 in Monaco as a computer specialist.
After being transferred to Geneva to work on a document-management system, he
discovered that clients' account information was not being adequately safeguarded.
superiors, but they ignored him.
"The bank was working mainly to protect its own profitability," he
"We do not have any record or knowledge of any previous attempts made by Falciani to alert his line manager or the bank's management," says David Bruegger, a bank spokesman in Zurich.
says that his
job did not give him access to client accounts, but that other employees shared his
concerns and began leaking account data to him in 2006.
, however, states that its internal investigation showed that Falciani alone took the information.
tried to pass the data to Swiss law-enforcement authorities to demonstrate the weakness of HSBC's
control systems, but was thwarted because they refused to protect his
then contacted intelligence services in several other countries, he
says, because he
"had started having doubts about Swiss justice."
Falciani's Mossad Meeting?
In a claim, which has never been substantiated - one evening in the summer of 2007, Falciani
was out walking along a street, in Geneva, when some men jumped out of a van and forced him to get in, and took him to the basement of a deserted building.
says that they told him they were Mossad agents and were asking him for his
help in ensuring that HSBC
would not "continue its practices.
The men didn't say specifically what they were concerned about, but Falciani
later suspected they were worried about hidden sources of terrorist money.
agreed to help, although he
had no way to verify whether the men actually worked for Mossad
So, what about that trip to Lebanon?
Bloomberg Business's article goes on to state that, according to Falciani
, it was the Mossad agents who proposed the Beirut trip.