Banking Whistleblower to Seek Funding for 'Clean, Ethical' Cryptocurrency Project

  • Famous French whistleblower, who leaked banking details of numerous tax evaders, is seeking funding.
  • Investments are to be used for French businessman's new crypto and blockchain projects.

Hervé Falciani, a well-known French-Italian systems engineer and whistleblower who is credited with “the biggest banking leak in history”, is reportedly planning to launching a new cryptocurrency.

This, according to a recently released Reuters report  - which revealed that the new cryptocurrency would be called Tabu. Falciani is hoping the new digital token will be recognized by financial regulators as it’s supposed to work as a means of ensuring the legitimacy of monetary transactions.

Falciani, who helped track down 130,000 tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts during the Wall Street financial crisis of 2008, claims to have acquired 5 million Tabu tokens. Collectively, these crypto tokens are worth approximately €2 million (appr. $2.3 million), Falciani stated.

The tokens are to be offered to investors during a public sale after the National Securities Market Commission, Spain’s financial regulator, approves the investment.

To date, the Tabu token project has raised €1.3 million (appr. $1.47 million), however an additional €2 million of capital is required in order to ensure adequate funding for the project’s ongoing development. Notably, Tabu has been developed by Tactical Whistleblowers, a non-profit organization founded by Falciani.

Working With Academics From Valencia Polytechnic University 

Headquartered in Valencia, Falciani’s organization consists of several academics with a strong background in Mathematics from the Valencia Polytechnic University - which is located in eastern Spain. In addition to working on a crypto token project, Falciani intends to introduce a blockchain-based system that will make it easier to authenticate (or verify) government procurement contracts.

There have been many cases worldwide of corrupt government officials embezzling funds which were supposed to be invested in a country’s procurement contracts. According to Falciani, a blockchain-powered contract registration system will increase transparency and accountability. It will also cut down corruption due to problems stemming from the inefficiencies of the traditional documentation system.

Referred to as “Alethia” (a Greek word meaning “disclosure” in English), the new blockchain-enabled system aims to ensure that funds are spent as intended, and not embezzled by corrupt government officials. Commenting on how the new platform will improve how routine procedures are carried out, Falciani remarked:

Fake information is the basis of any kind of fraud. The same way that we have to deal with fake news, the same technology can [be] applied to fake invoices.

Going After Tax Evaders

Having previously worked as a software developer at HSBC, Falciani is known for collaborating with several European countries by providing them with classified (and stolen) information related to hundreds of thousands of suspected Swiss bank accounts holding money from tax evasion.

Most of these accounts were reportedly created and managed by HSBC’s Switzerland-based subsidiary, HSBC Private Bank.

Notably, Falciani is also credited with creating the “Lagarde list”, a list of HSBC account holders who allegedly used the financial insitution’s services to evade tax collection and engage in money laundering. Their activities were leaked to former French minister and current International Monetary Fund (IMF) head, Christine Lagarde. The IMF head had then forwarded the list of these HSBC clients to their respective governments.

Binance CEO Sues VC Firm Sequoia for Reputational Damages

Francisco Memoria

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of leading cryptocurrency exchange binance, has reportedly sued well-reputed venture capital firm Sequoia over reputational damages allegedly caused by a lawsuit the VC firm filed against Binance that was dismissed.

According to a filing submitted to the High Court in Hong Kong that was obtained by CoinDesk, Changpeng Zhao, referred to as CZ, claims Sequoia Capital China, a unit of Sequoia, significantly damaged his reputation and is looking for compensation.

This, according to the CEO, prevented him from raising money at a proper valuation for Binance. Sequoia reportedly damaged his reputation through a lawsuit filed in April of last year over a funding deal that went awry.

A hearing for the case is set to take place on June 25 between CZ and SCC Venture VI, a special purpose vehicle of Sequoia Capital China. An inquiry to determine whether Zhao “sustained any and what damages” is being demanded, over an injunction order Sequoia obtained in late 2017 that reportedly prevented CZ from raising funds in March of 2018.

Sequoia’s initial lawsuit was dismissed by the Hong Kong High Court, with the VC firm having to repay Binance the legal fees required for its legal representative.

In the filing, the CEO of Binance stated:

The injunction order has caused loss to me for which I am entitled to reasonable compensation by Sequoia. In particular, I have suffered i) a loss of chance to raise capital through successive rounds of financing at increasing high valuations; and ii) damage to my reputation.

Sequoia is notably seen as one of the most well-reputed venture capital firms focusing on tech startups, and available data shows it operates 22 funds across the globe and raised $15.3 billion so far.

Meanwhile, Binance has been going through a rough few weeks. The exchange was hacked for 7,000 BTC earlier this month, and considered rolling back the Bitcoin blockchain to recover the stolen funds, a move that saw him be heavily criticized on social media.

Binance recently published an extensive blog post recapping the incident that detailed hackers managed to control a number of Binance user accounts and structured large withdrawals from these. More recently, various users complained they lost funds after experiencing lag on the trading platform.