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Spain releases HSBC leaker Herve Falciani but he cannot leave Spain

Staff Writer |
Spain's National High Court on Thursday released with precautionary measures Herve Falciani, a computer expert and former HSBC Bank employee.

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Falciani, who had worked in the IT department at HSBC's Swiss private banking unit, is accused of leaking a list with tax data of more than 130,000 customers of the institution.

The judge banned Falciani from leaving Spain ahead of the court's decision. He must hand over his passport and appear weekly in court.

He was arrested on Wednesday in Madrid when he was going to take part in a public event at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas. Falciani was arrested due to the extradition order issued by Swiss authorities for Falciani for releasing the list.

The police must monitor the house that Falciani chooses to live in Spain on a daily basis and any trip or departure from the town where he lives must be allowed by the judicial authority.

The Swiss authorities have requested him since May 2017 to serve a sentence of five years in prison imposed in 2016 for leaking the so-called "Falciani List", a list of 130,000 alleged tax evaders.

Falciani's arrest came at a delicate moment in relations between Spain and Switzerland after Spain issued a European detention order for crime of rebellion against Catalan separatists Anna Gabriel and Marta Rovira, who are currently in exile in the Alpine country.

Switzerland has so far failed to arrest them, arguing that the accusation is political in nature.

He had been already arrested in Barcelona in 2012 for the same charges, although in 2013 Spain rejected his extradition to Switzerland because the leaked information "referred to activities suspected of illegality", according to Spanish media reports.

The "Falciani List" was used to identify 659 alleged tax evaders and the Tax Agency notified 558 of them that they had to regularize their situation.

The "Falciani List" allowed the Tax Agency to regularize more than 300 million euros $(366 million).

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