Updated: Wednesday 9th January 13.00
The trial of a former UBS employee accused of data theft began yesterday in Switzerland, with the defendant facing accusations of commercial espionage and violation of Swiss banking secrecy. The defendant failed to show-up to the trail.
The unidentified man, referred to by Bloomberg as “Rene S.”, allegedly stole the data of upwards of 200 clients over the course of just a few days in 2010, before then selling it on to German officials, earning €1.15 million in the process.
Rene S., who denies the charges against him, was an employee of the Swiss investment bank for over six years, working in its trust and foundations department in Basel. According to the indictment drawn up by the prosecutors on behalf of the Swiss government, German authorities searched the homes of 233 of the bank’s customers in Germany amidst the investigation.
Article 47 of the Swiss Banking Craft states that anyone who discloses clients’ confidential information faces imprisonment of up to five years.
Rene S. is said to have used the €1.15 million to buy an apartment in Mallorca, which he subsequently sold. When this property was searched in 2013, hollow-point bullets were discovered, which are prohibited in Switzerland. Owing to these events, Rene S. also stands accused of money laundering and illegal munitions possession.
A spokeswoman for UBS declined to comment when asked by Bloomberg.
The trial comes at a time when UBS is expected to face a ruling by the Swiss Supreme Court on whether it must hand over the data of clients French clients, requested by the French office in 2012, owing to several data leaks involving Swiss banks.
French prosecutors are demanding that the Swiss bank pay a fine of €3.7bn on allegations that it helped its clients evade tax. French prosecutors claimed the bank had helped wealthy French clients to hide money outside of the country.
The trial, taking place at the Swiss Federal Court is expected to last all week. It was originally set to begin on Monday 7th January but was postponed by a day after Rene S. failed to turn up in court, something anticipated by the presiding judge.