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Spain authorities use stolen info to track tax cheats

Fri 25th Jun 2010

Spain has taken advantage of data stolen from HSBC's Swiss private banking division, by one of it's employees in order to hunt down tax evaders.

IT worker, Herve Falciani, stole personal records of 79,000 account holders back in 2007 before fleeing to France while under investigation. He eventually passed the information over to the French authorities.

In April a French prosecutor revealed that the stolen files had been decrypted and launched a tax investigation based on over 8000 accounts related to French customers.

The Italians were quick to launch their own investigation the following month after being given a list of around 7000 account holders by French counterparts.

Media speculation is that the details of around 3000 accounts, to the value of EUR6 billion, have also been passed over to the Spanish authorities.

In television interview earlier on in the week the country's finance minister, Elena Salgado, stated how the account holders have been informed of this development and instructed to pay any outstanding taxes and fines in order to avoid more serious penalties in due course.

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