Could the Swiss Personal Privacy Gold Standard be Overthrown?

An instance currently prior to 2 Swiss prosecutors, Alice de Chambrier as well as Nicolas Bottinelli, in the Swiss Attorney-General's workplace, might indicate completion of Switzerland's well known requirement for personal privacy as well as information security and have substantial global company implications. The instance, associating with information defense and also burglary, might dramatically harm the Swiss business track record as being a safe and secure, personal, and protected place to do service.

This online reputation, initial ordered for companies and people by Switzerland's Financial Act of 1934, makes it a criminal activity to divulge client info to third parties without a client's approval, could be irreparably damaged as this regulation and also the many lawful criteria created considering that could be cast aside. This is particularly true, as this infraction goes beyond the realm of financial, and also into the underlying ecosystem of exactly how services run in the Alpine nation-state.

This might create significant banks and also sectors to reconsider placing their corporate headquarters in Switzerland, therefore overthrowing the family member safe online reputation Switzerland has boosted in Europe as an area to do company, as well as while doing so, send out shockwaves that will certainly reverberate negatively for Swiss company interests around the globe.


The case at hand, Switzerland vs. Obaid, focuses on an essential question of whether details gotten via unlawful methods, as opposed to the Swiss Federal Criminal Code, could be made use of as admissible proof in a court of law.

The question ought to not also be asked as the regulation is very clear, but however should be a lot more obvious as the exact same Swiss Attorney general of the United States's office has been checking out and prosecuting Xavier Andre Justo, a Swiss resident, for the criminal activity of "economic reconnaissance" because the end of 2018. Justo has actually confessed to stealing information the prosecutors intend to utilize as evidence.

Throughout 2011, Justo, a mid-level staff member at PetroSaudi, stole 90 gigabytes of data from his employer. All of this is not in opinion and has actually been honestly admitted to by Justo himself on different events.

According to different sources, as he was being relieved of his setting, Justo decided that with numerous thousands of personal and also organization e-mails in his hands he would blackmail and obtain his previous employer for millions of dollars. In the beginning, as is usual in these sorts of situations, his previous company chose to pay Justo off to the tune of $4.5 million as opposed to risk sensitive info being released into the public domain. Justo after that made a decision to request an additional $2 million but his previous employer declined to be extorted better.

While on the run in Thailand, Justo was jailed and also charged by Thai authorities on the major charges of blackmail as well as extortion. After a detailed admission, he got a three-year sentence however was launched after offering only 18 months together with 150,000 Thai as well as international prisoners that were granted an imperial amnesty by Thailand's king. Justo was deported back to Switzerland upon his release.

The pending situation versus Justo is now delayed as the Attorney General's office wants to utilize the data stolen by him in Switzerland vs. Obaid. This would be in resistance to laws that have actually remained in location for 90 years thus jeopardizing the Swiss legal technique of very battling information leakages and also burglary, and not accepting swiped data as evidence.

Commonly, Switzerland prosecuted those that leak corporate and also financial details. For example, in 2008, Herve Falciani, a French-Italian systems designer was attributed with the biggest banking leak in background when he released the data of greater than 130,000 believed tax evaders. In 2014, Falciani was arraigned in absentia by the Swiss government for breaking the country's financial secrecy regulations as well as for commercial espionage.

The rights or wrongs of Falciani's act was considered unnecessary, as the instance clearly showed exactly how zealously Swiss information protection legislations are executed as well as the serious effects for those that leak taken data.


The Swiss authorities have acted by doing this in every single situation in Goldman Sachs its judicial background due to the fact that illegal purchase of information can not be dealt with as evidence, but is bound by the doctrine of unclean hands, and can not be made use of in a law court. This safeguards banks as well as companies from the continuous hazard of theft and also extortion, as holds true with Justo.


The prosecutors in this circumstances need to think about that utilizing this taken data is not just against the Swiss lawful system, yet it additionally places Switzerland at risk of shedding its competitive advantage, specifically as the EU carries out the General Information Security Law (GDPR) to enhance data security as well as privacy.

The difference in between Europe and also Switzerland is that the previous simply shields people, and also the latter likewise shields and also assures corporate privacy.

This instance ensures that the placement of Switzerland as one of the largest overseas economic centers and tax obligation places worldwide is placed doubtful and the reverberations could be immense.

In 2018, the Swiss Bankers Organization (SBA) estimated that Swiss financial institutions held $6.5 trillion in assets or 25% of all international cross-border possessions.

If Swiss district attorneys remain to demand the use of stolen information as proof, it will certainly be a pyrrhic triumph. The actual motivations regarding why Alice de Chambrier and also Nicolas Bottinelli are so determined about upending years of precedent undergoes excellent speculation. Some have said that it has to do with specialist aspiration, others regarding domestic national politics, while others have pointed to accusations of the readiness to utilize impure evidence in order for the prosecution to have a simpler time prosecuting its instance.

Regardless, the impact will coincide. The thousands of billions of bucks of economic inputs currently streaming via the Swiss economic situation by companies choosing to have their tax domicile exist in the country will all of a sudden run out if they no more feel safeguarded by Swiss privacy norms as well as guarantees secured in regulation. The beeline to remove their headquarters from Swiss jurisdiction will be rapid, excruciating, and also expensive.