Authorities have charged a former banker at UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, with industrial espionage and other charges linked to the alleged sale of confidential client details to a German state.

Attorney General Michael Lauber's office on Wednesday confirmed Swiss news reports saying the charges were filed in Federal Criminal Court in July.

The defendant, who was not identified, faces charges including industrial espionage, violation of banking secrecy and money laundering.

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has acquired several CDs containing data on accounts in Switzerland, and passed data to other European countries.

Swiss bank secrecy rules long made it easy for foreigners to hide money in Switzerland. In 2014, UBS paid about 300 million euros ($403 million) to settle charges that it helped German clients suspected of evading taxes.