France has denied that it paid for what is claimed to be stolen information on suspected tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts.
It comes after newspaper Le Parisien said part of list of some 3000 names, allegedly taken by an employee of HSBC’s private bank in Geneva, was being used by French tax authorities to put pressure on Switzerland.
France’s budget minister said: ‘‘This list comes from several sources. It’s not from that one source. I neither confirm nor deny. It’s not for the financial authorities to reveal these sources. And also nothing was bought.’‘
HSBC has said the stolen data only concerns 10 clients, but the Swiss government has launched an inquiry into the affair.
Since the global credit crisis began Bern has come under increasing pressure from other countries to reform its banking secrecy laws.