“I can confirm that the prosecution for the Canton of Zurich has opened a criminal case against National Councillor Christoph Blocher on suspicion of breaching banking secrecy,” Corinne Bouvard, spokeswoman for the Public Prosecutor’s Office, told Swiss television program "10 to 10".
As part of the investigation, prosecution services assisted by the Zurich cantonal police conducted raids on Tuesday of Blocher’s residence and offices.
Blocher is accused of passing on information relating to the former head of the National Bank, Philipp Hildebrand, that should have been protected by banking secrecy, online news website 20 Minutes reported.
The Bank Sarasin IT employee, known as Reto T, who admitted to the theft of the data, said he had only passed the information to his lawyer.
“It was Blocher who pushed to make it public,” he said.
Although a member of the National Council, Blocher cannot benefit from any immunity to the proceedings.
"Blocher is somehow a kind of untouchable power," National Councillor Carlo Sommaruga told online news wesbite Le Matin.
"His caudillo attitude of being above the law is no longer acceptable, nor accepted," he said.
It is still unclear whether Blocher himself ever had possession of the data in question, or whether he simply pushed to have it brought to the public’s attention.
"They can look as long as they like into Blocher's house... He has no documents with him. But because he is Blocher, everything he does will be wrong. He will soon be public enemy No. 1!" Blocher's adviser, Oskar Freysinger, told Le Matin.
It is also unclear whether simply passing on secret data is a punishable offence.
“When it comes to secrets, there are no innocent postmen,” Ticino prosecutor, Paolo Bernasconi, told 20 Minutes.
Note: A previous version of this article mistakenly attributed Carlo Sommaruga's quotes to Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga. The Local apologizes for any misunderstanding.