Ex-banker admits lying over French tax fraud
A man who acknowledged lying when he served as a key witness in a major French tax fraud investigation was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison term in the Swiss canton of Ticino on Friday.
Frenchman Pierre Condamin-Gerbier was sentenced by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, in the southern canton of Ticino, after his defence and prosecutors struck a deal, the ATS news agency reported.
He was arrested in Switzerland last year on suspicion of breaching the Alpine nation's corporate and banking secrecy laws by testifying in Paris in an investigation into disgraced former French budget minister Jerome Cahuzac.
Cahuzac resigned in March 2013 over an undeclared foreign bank account, long held with Condamin-Gerbier's former employer Geneva-based bank Reyl and Cie, which is under investigation in France for enabling tax fraud.
In connection with that case, Condamin-Gerbier had told media he knew of 15 other French politicians and "big names" with undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland and said he had handed the information over to French investigators.
He later acknowledged through his lawyer that he had invented the list.
A select few journalists were permitted to attend Friday's closed-door court hearing, including one from ATS, on the condition they agree in writing not to divulge any of the personalities mentioned there.
Condamin-Gerbier admitted to disclosing business secrets of his former employer, and acknowledged that most of his allegations about the bank had been false and aimed at harming the bank.
Reyl's lawyer Vincent Jeanneret hailed Friday's verdict.
"As the convicted man acknowledged, his actions were purely aimed at allowing him to shine in the media and to harm his former employer," he said in a statement.
Condamin-Gerbier was not convicted of breaching Swiss banking secrecy laws,
since it turns out he was not a banker as he had claimed.
In fact, he had been working for Reyl's concierge service for wealthy
Condamin-Gerbier, who lives in Switzerland, spent two and a half months in
jail after his arrest last year before being released on September 18, 2013.
He is currently making a living giving English lessons, ATS reported.