A Swiss flag is pictured in front of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in Bern, Switzerland May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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Geneva's private banks have a little-known rule that's rarely discussed with outsiders.The rule pits the interest of employees seeking cheaper living conditions against a deep-seated culture of privacy at Geneva's centuries-old private banks.France began scrutinizing the Swiss private banking unit of HSBC Holdings PLC after Herve Falciani, a former information technology worker at the firm, stole client account details from the Geneva office in 2008 and passed them to the French government. HSBC later agreed to pay about 300 million euros ($352 million) to settle a criminal investigation by the French government into allegations it helped clients evade taxes.Client confidentialKeeping data safe and within Switzerland's jurisdiction is a priority for clients, bankers and authorities, according to Gina Le Provost, who runs recruitment firm AP Executive in Geneva. For the most part, banks in the city will look to employ Swiss nationals first, rather than relocate foreigners, she said.Pictet, Geneva's largest private bank with 496 billion Swiss francs of client assets, expects employees who work in Switzerland to reside in Switzerland and pay their taxes there, spokesman Simon Roth said.
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