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'Swissleaks' whistleblower gets 5-year jail term

A court in Switzerland has sentenced the man behind the 'Swissleaks' tax-cheating scandal to five years in prison. But Herve Falciani, a former HSBC employee, didn't attend the trial and won't be extradited from France.

Six years after Herve Falciani handed over a wealth of stolen information on clients of the Swiss bank HSBC to French tax authorities, a Swiss court handed down a five-year jail sentence to the French-Italian whistleblower.

But

Falciani was not at the trial

, nor will he see the inside of a Swiss jail as long as he remains in France, which does not extradite its citizens.

The former IT specialist began siphoning off the data of tens of thousands of HSBC Suisse clients in 2006, before his arrest by Swiss authorities in 2008.

The data, it was later revealed, exposed a massive scheme of bank-supported tax evasion.

Strong evidence

Watch video 03:18

SwissLeaks - the HSBC money laundering machine

After being released on bail, Falciani fled to France, where he handed the stolen data over to French tax authorities.

Some reports suggest Falciani's cache contained

incriminating evidence on more than 100,000 clients

of HSBC's Swiss private banking arm.

The French newspaper "Le Monde" has said it has identified more than 106,000 people who sought to illegally reduce their tax burden.

Falciani can still appeal the sentence in Switzerland's highest court.

cjc/hg (AFP, Reuters)

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