”This movie is based on real facts”. This is how The Mail begins, the second most viewed feature film on Netflix Argentina at the time this article was published.

Fans of the platform and Spanish films and series will quickly recognize several of its actors. There are Arón Piper and María Pedraza, from Elite; Luis Zahera, from Entrevías; Luis Tosar, from Who kills with iron. Only José Coronado is missing to fill the quota.

As the film addresses real cases and this note recalls one of them, it may not hurt to clarify that from here on there will be plot spoilers.

The plot of El Correo is located in a pivotal period for the Spanish and European economy. With changed names and archival material, Daniel Calparsoro, its director, was inspired – among others – by an event that shook the honor of countless celebrities.

To narrate that event and many others like it, he ties himself to a protagonist, Iván Márquez (Piper), a young man who goes from parking cars to working as a “courier” (as the messenger is called in slang) for an international organization. dedicated to money laundering.

Iván sends briefcases with money to Belgium and Switzerland, entering deeper and deeper into a world of dirty finances from which no one is a foreigner. And Piper knows that very well. ”Whoever takes it for granted is going to find it funny,” challenged the Spanish actor in an interview with Europa Press.

One of the elements that holds The Mail to reality has a first and last name: Hervé Falciani. In the same medium as his protagonist, Calparsoro clarified that Falciani plays himself in the film and that in it “he gives an explanation of how all this works.” But enough of the ambiguities. Let’s get to the point. To the case.

To begin to understand the superficiality of one of the events that The Courier borrows – in addition to the Gürtel plot, the Nóos case, the Malaya Operation, etc. – let us delve step by step into the conflict known in the media as the Falciani List or SwissLeaks.

”Mathematician, physicist, computer engineer and ‘informer”’. This is how the media outlet Onda Cero describes the Franco-Italian Hervé Falciani.

Falciani worked for the multinational financial services company HSBC and became famous in 2015 for leaking a list with 130,000 names of potential tax evaders with undeclared accounts in Switzerland.

He worked as a computer scientist at the bank’s Swiss subsidiary from 2001 to 2008. Specifically, there he was dedicated to reorganizing the entity’s database to strengthen its security.

Today he is 52 years old and believes that corruption continues to exist as in those years. About the film, Falciani said that the tax evasion he portrays through diamond trafficking ”is a real method.” ”Even corruption continues. “The same corrupt people who are convicted or investigated continue to vote,” she said.

Falciani is proud to be an ”informer”. He believes that knowledge is power. Consequently, he thinks that “an infiltrator is a democratic counterweight” and that practicing his “profession” is “the only way to combat impunity.”

Calparsoro added: ”He himself not only explained how it works, but he told us that it still works and that the European Union allows it. It is an open secret”.

The Falciani List is – as its media name indicates – a list of 130,000 names of tax evaders that the computer scientist stole from the HSBC Private Bank in Geneva and made public. It helped more than 200 countries uncover cases of tax evasion.

The list arrived in certain emails one day in 2008 with the subject: ”Tax evasion: client list available”. The sender, Ruben Al-Chadick, the nickname Hervé used.

Names and surnames were not immediately released. France shared the data with several jurisdictions and Spain carried out a massive tax regularization.

According to El Confidencial, most of the names were only made public in 2015 thanks to an investigation coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Le Monde, la Sexta and Confidencial itself.

On the list there are individuals and legal entities from more than 200 different countries. Businessmen, nobles, figures from the entertainment world, drug traffickers, diamond traffickers, military men. ”In total, they accumulated just over 102 billion dollars, about 78 billion euros at the exchange rate of 2007, the year to which these figures refer,” El Confidencial indicated at the time.

As expected, there were well-known names and surnames that fell on the ”Falciani List”.

Some go: Arleta Ricci (heiress to designer Nina Ricci’s fortune); actor Christian Slater; former singer David Bowie; model Elle MacPherson; the former soccer player Diego Forlán; the drivers Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso; former tennis player Marat Safin; musician Phil Collins; former singer Tina Turner; the motorcyclist Valentino Rossi.

The lawyers or representatives of many of the personalities involved came out to give explanations about the appearance of their names on Falciani’s list.

On December 22, 2008, the French-Italian stole the names from the bank’s records and fled with his wife and daughter to Nice, France. He had to leave Switzerland because violating banking secrecy is a crime in that country.

In France, the first thing he did was contact an inspector from the National Directorate of Tax Investigations to make known his information (which, a priori, he had planned to sell).

In 2015, when the names came to light, the Swiss Federal Chamber sentenced Falciani in absentia to five years in prison for espionage. But since Falciani was living in France at the time, he could not be extradited.

In 2017, Switzerland issued an arrest warrant and the following year, precisely on April 4, 2018, Falciani was arrested in Spain just before participating in an event. Police had been searching for him since March 19.

However, one day after his arrest, the judge of the National Court Diego de Egea released the computer scientist with precautionary measures: weekly appearance in court, delivery of his passport and prohibition from leaving Spain.

The Mail, the Netflix film, ends with a legend that includes a mention of the case: ”The ‘Falciani List’ uncovered 1.8 billion ‘opaque’ Spanish euros in Switzerland. The country needed a bailout from the European Union worth 58 billion euros. The public debt tripled. (…) Evictions multiplied. “Cuts in health and education continue to this day.”