HSBC: data on 24,000 Swiss account holders stolen - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

HSBC: data on 24,000 Swiss account holders stolen

GENEVA (AP) - Information on 24,000 HSBC customers with Swiss accounts has been stolen, the British bank said Thursday, potentially exposing large numbers of international clients to prosecution by tax authorities in their home countries.

A former IT employee of Swiss subsidiary HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA, identified by French authorities as Herve Falciani, stole the information between late 2006 and early 2007, the bank said. The accounts, held by individuals worldwide, were all opened before October 2006 and some 9,000 have since been closed.

"We deeply regret this situation and unreservedly apologize to our clients for this threat to their privacy," said Alexandre Zeller, chief executive of the Swiss subsidiary.

The bank said it has contacted the affected customers and doesn't believe the stolen data has or will allow any unauthorized person to access the affected accounts. The stolen information only affects accounts in Switzerland with the exception of its former subsidiary HSBC Guyerzeller Bank, it said.

However, the theft could leave some of those account holders exposed to prosecution by tax authorities.

In recent cases of data theft from banks in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the information was offered to foreign governments seeking to track down nationals who avoided paying their taxes by hiding money in Swiss accounts.

The French government said last year it had obtained a list of 3,000 French HSBC clients compiled from "numerous sources" including the former HSBC employee - identified by prosecutors in the French city of Aix-en-Provence as Falciani.

France later agreed to return the files to Switzerland, who in turn handed "copies of a significant portion of the data" back to the bank on March 3, HSBC said. "Based on the facts it would appear that the French authorities have copies and the Swiss authorities have copies," HSBC spokesman Jezz Farr said.

The bank said French authorities had informed their Swiss counterparts that the data they still hold would "not be used inappropriately." It remained unclear whether that means France will not use the data to prosecute tax evaders.

Farr said the theft affected customers worldwide. "The accounts were held in Switzerland but the client base is international," he said.

HSBC PLC said offering private banking services for rich customers remains "a core business" of the group, which has about 100,000 private banking clients.

Shares in HSBC were down 0.05 percent at 7.01 pounds ($10.54) on the London exchange.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Live in Montgomery: The Day before the Big Game

    Live in Montgomery: The Day before the Big Game

    Friday, December 15 2017 11:41 PM EST2017-12-16 04:41:07 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 11:49 PM EST2017-12-16 04:49:15 GMT
    The A-State football team visited the Rosa Parks Museum this week as part of bowl festivities for the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. (Source: KAIT)The A-State football team visited the Rosa Parks Museum this week as part of bowl festivities for the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. (Source: KAIT)

    It was a busy Friday as the A-State Red Wolves finished the final preparations for Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery. 

    It was a busy Friday as the A-State Red Wolves finished the final preparations for Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery. 

  • Greensborough Village project sees first building construction project

    Greensborough Village project sees first building construction project

    Friday, December 15 2017 11:18 PM EST2017-12-16 04:18:27 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 11:38 PM EST2017-12-16 04:38:31 GMT
    A developer said Friday that the Greensborough Village project is moving ahead. (Source: KAIT)A developer said Friday that the Greensborough Village project is moving ahead. (Source: KAIT)

    A 200-acre property project in the Hilltop area of Jonesboro is moving ahead, a developer of the project said Friday. 

    A 200-acre property project in the Hilltop area of Jonesboro is moving ahead, a developer of the project said Friday. 

  • breaking

    One dead, one in custody, investigator says in Lawrence County shooting

    One dead, one in custody, investigator says in Lawrence County shooting

    Friday, December 15 2017 9:17 PM EST2017-12-16 02:17:05 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 11:17 PM EST2017-12-16 04:17:18 GMT
    Lawrence County deputies were at the scene of a shooting Friday night on Highway 91. (Source: KAIT)Lawrence County deputies were at the scene of a shooting Friday night on Highway 91. (Source: KAIT)

    According to Sgt. Jamie White of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, authorities there are investigating a shooting in which a woman was killed. 

    According to Sgt. Jamie White of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, authorities there are investigating a shooting in which a woman was killed. 

Powered by Frankly