Stéphanie Gibaud, the source of revelations of tax evasion concerning the Swiss banking giant UBS, was officially recognized as a whistleblower by the Defender of Rights, in an opinion issued on Wednesday.
At the end of the 2000s, she had contributed with Nicolas Forissier – former head of internal audit – to denouncing the practices of the Swiss bank and to the triggering of an investigation in France into a vast system of tax evasion.
Formerly in charge of event marketing within the group, she was dismissed more than ten years ago, on January 21, 2012, for economic reasons.
Stphanie Gibaud contacted the Defender of Rights, empowered to issue the status of whistleblower created by the Sapin II law of December 9, 2016.
The independent institution, whose role in whistleblowing was strengthened by a law of March 2022, considered that Ms. Gibaud could claim the quality of whistleblower, according to a letter addressed to Ms. Gibaud and consulted by AFP.
This is the first time that the Defender of Rights has issued an opinion recognizing the status of whistleblower to a person who has contacted him, under his new powers granted by the law of March 21, 2022.
This certification will allow the interested party to benefit, if necessary, from the protective measures provided for by the 2016 law, for reprisals occurring after this date as well as to benefit from the new protective measures of the 2022 law in the event of subsequent reprisals. , indicated the Defender of Rights, asked by AFP.
In December 2021, the Swiss bank was condemned on appeal to pay 1.8 billion euros for having set up a system aimed at facilitating the tax evasion of wealthy French taxpayers between 2004 and 2012. The parent company has lodged an appeal in cassation, but not the French subsidiary for which the sentence is final.
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This subsidiary must also be tried for harassment of Stphanie Gibaud and a second whistleblower, Nicolas Forissier, but also for obstructing the regular operation of the CHSCT and tampering with witnesses.
According to the Sapin II law, the status of whistleblower can be issued to a person who, in particular, reports or discloses, without direct financial compensation and in good faith, information relating to a crime, an offense or a concealment of a violation of an international commitment approved by France.
This is great news for Stphanie Gibaud (…) We have clear proof that she is a whistleblower, her lawyer Antoine Reillac reacted to AFP.