Swiss trial begins in absentia for former HSBC employee accused of leaking bank data

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A former HSBC employee has been put on trial in absentia in Switzerland for leaking bank data, which led to a worldwide wave of tax evasion probes against prominent clients.

Herve Falciani refused to travel from his native France to appear before the Swiss Federal Tribunal in Bellinzona on Monday, prompting the court to suspend proceedings until Nov. 9.

Falciani is charged with illegally obtaining data, economic espionage, breach of business confidentiality and breach of bank secrecy while working at HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA between 2006 and 2008.

The data on clients of HSBC's Swiss subsidiary were leaked to French authorities and others.

Some of the data, allegedly detailing accounts worth $100 billion held by more than 100,000 people and legal entities, were later published by international news organizations.