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Spain refuses to hand over to Switzerland ex-HSBC worker who allegedly stole information

Spain's National Court has ruled against extraditing a former HSBC employee to Switzerland, where he faces charges of stealing and revealing client information.

A statement Wednesday said that the court rejected the charges that Swiss authorities had wanted to bring against Herve Falciani, who is wanted for allegedly stealing information between 2006 and 2007 relating to 24,000 customers of the Swiss division of HSBC.

Details of the accounts were sent to France's former finance minister, Christine Lagarde — now head of the International Monetary Fund — who passed them on to other governments, exposing many clients to prosecution for tax evasion.

The court statement Wednesday added that two of the Swiss charges — revelation of secrets and infringing client confidentiality — could not be used to protect suspected illegal activities.