(Reuters) - Herve Falciani, an ex-employee of HSBC’s (HSBA.L) Geneva private bank who leaked information on clients and their tax situation, has been sentenced to five years in prison for aggravated industrial espionage, the bank said on Friday.
HSBC said it welcomed the ruling on Falciani, a 43-year old French citizen who had been on trial in Switzerland.
HSBC’s Swiss unit has been in the spotlight since 2008, when Falciani, a former IT employee there, fled Geneva with files that were leaked to the media and were alleged to show evidence of tax evasion by clients. French newspaper Le Monde has said it identified more than 106,000 clients.
Falciani, who is based in France, did not attend his trial and stayed out of Switzerland while it was going on.
He may not serve any time in a Swiss prison since France typically does not extradite its own citizens, and there are no legal proceedings against him in France.
Falciani’s lawyer — Marc Henzelin — did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; editing by Susan Thomas