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First Swiss banker penalized for espionage

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First Swiss banker penalized for espionage
Photo: UBS
09:46 CEST+02:00
A former UBS employee became the first Swiss banker in history to be penalized for espionage after being convicted for passing on bank statement details to US authorities in a decision that escaped media attention for almost three months.

Former client adviser Renzo Gadola received a suspended fine of 6,000 francs on July 21st, not for violating Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws but for revealing trade secrets, the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper reported online.

Gadola was arrested in November 2010 in Miami for allegedly transferring funds for clients from the US to the Basel cantonal bank to escape paying American income taxes.

After being prosecuted in the US for aiding and abetting tax evasion he co-operated with American justice authorities in return for a more lenient sentence by providing the bank account statements of two customers, Schweiz am Sonntag said.

Gadola was fined $100 and put on probation for five years in a sentence handed out by an American court in the fall of 2011.

But under Swiss law his behaviour amounted to “betraying trade secrets”, according to the judgment from July, the newspaper said.

The fact that American authorities exerted pressure on Gadola to obtain the bank account information amounted to only an “artificially created emergency situation” that did not protect him for being prosecuted in Switzerland, the legal ruling found.

The wrongdoing was all the same found to be “minor”.

The former banker was saddled with paying 7,117 francs in legal costs

   

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