Swiss authorities have charged former HSBC systems engineer Herve Falciani with industrial espionage for leaking details of bank accounts, unauthorized obtaining of data, breach of trade secrecy, and violation of banking secrecy.

Switzerland’s attorney general said that Falciani allegedly tried to profit from exposing customer data.

Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office also accused him of trying to sell the information to banks in Lebanon.

"Sometimes celebrated as a hero abroad, the Franco-Italian national is now to answer for his alleged crimes before a Swiss court. The Swiss Criminal Procedure Code does not exclude the possibility of holding a court trial of the accused person in absentia," the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

The attorney general added that HSBC and other bank customers were also taking part in the proceedings as private claimants.

HSBC has also denied any role in assisting clients dodge taxes, while Falciani was not available to comment.

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Falciani has been accused of handing over the account details of up to 24,000 HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) clients to French tax authorities dating back to 2005 and 2006.

He has also been arrested in Spain at the request of Swiss authorities seeking his extradition for stealing and passing on secret data.