Originally published in The Mountain Astrologer. Reprinted with permission.
On December 22, 2008, the Swiss police took systems engineer Hervé Falciani in for questioning, then released him with instructions to return the next day. Instead, Falciani rented a car and fled with his wife and children to France. There he downloaded 5 CDs of data stored on remote servers, which he had garnered from his employer, multinational corporation HSBC’s private Swiss bank in Geneva. Those CDs, containing the encrypted data of more than 130,000 account holders in 200 countries, have been a slow-burning fire for the Swiss banking industry, and their contents have reaped billions in lost tax revenue for France, Spain, and other countries. This represents the most significant insider banking data ever leaked. The real story may be unfolding now, as the emphasis shifts from individual fraud to the banking system itself.
As in many whistleblower cases, Falciani’s motives have been called into question. Falciani traveled to Lebanon under a pseudonym in early 2008, and it is alleged that he tried to sell his lists to bankers there. He lacks the communication skills and clear humanitarian stance of an Edward Snowden. Falciani said of himself, “I’m no white knight, but there is something beautiful and exhilarating about establishing the truth.” (1) In his chart, Uranus at 18° Libra is exactly square his Capricorn Sun — perhaps the key aspect in his willingness to take such a risk (see chart).
Thinking of Uranus as Prometheus, Falciani was compelled to steal fire from the most secret of banking systems, the Swiss. Working as a computer analyst at HSBC, he had helped to tighten reporting practices in Monaco after a banking client was fined for fraud. When he offered to help create a system to fix loopholes in Geneva, he was stonewalled. He quickly became aware of a labyrinthine system to encourage and enable tax evasion. As a result, he began to download files every day before leaving work, and he did this without fail for two years. He worked with the steady, deliberate intent of an earthy Capricorn Sun.
During this time, in 2006 and 2007, transiting Pluto was crossing over his natal Mercury–Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius. He was obsessively tracking the systemic practices of the bank. He found money from terrorism, blood diamonds, gun-running and drugs, and secret government accounts, as well as individuals with something to hide.
Venus in Aquarius loves the truth, especially in the 9th house of ethics and beliefs. Falciani’s Venus is trine Uranus in Libra, and for those who consider Uranus a ruler of Aquarius, Venus and Uranus are in mutual reception, in signs that concern justice and freedom. Falciani now says in interviews that he feels that wealthy people and criminals should not be able to get away with tax evasion, that their cheating undermines the societies they live in. He comes across as a rather puritanical figure for social justice and compliance with the law, albeit one with questionable methods. (2) Uranus in the 5th house needs to step out in a visible way, to be seen as a risk-taker, while the Sun in the 7th house has a keen sense of justice.
Another configuration of particular significance in Falciani’s chart is Mars in Aries in the 10th house opposing Pluto and closely squaring the Ascendant. The need for daring, the willingness to take on a powerful adversary, and the ability to bring down a system from underneath are all aptly reflected here. It is this aspect pattern that, in France, has earned Falciani the title of “the man who makes the rich tremble.”
Despite laws put in place to protect whistleblowers, many of these individuals take a hit financially and psychologically, and they are often unable to work again. Their reputations have been left in ruins, and they are often the first target of adversaries. HSBC’s whistleblower hotline was used to track down malcontents rather than change the system. Falciani has innumerable enemies and has been provided with bodyguards by the French. At times, he uses disguises. In Switzerland, banking secrecy is sacrosanct, and he went to jail in 2012 in Spain, awaiting an extradition request and just after testifying in the United States. Transiting Uranus was conjunct his Mars then and exactly square Pluto in the sky, which opposed the Ascendant.
Switzerland has now indicted Falciani on charges of industrial espionage, but he is protected by France and Spain. It took until February 2015, six years after the initial data breach, for the Swiss government to finally investigate HSBC. The huge trove of information concerning HSBC’s banking practices began to emerge in 2010, shortly before transiting Neptune at 0° Pisces returned to its position in the modern chart for Switzerland. Neptune seems to be making a once occult system permeable to outsiders, through what is now known as the “Swiss Leaks.” As Neptune transits the Swiss Moon at 8° Pisces in 2015, the old secrecy system is likely to be washed away.
It’s fascinating to see that Falciani has the Moon in Scorpio, as do Edward Snowden and Julian Assange — a Moon that would be unerringly attracted to secrets beyond secrets. Once there is something to find, a Scorpio Moon doesn’t easily let go, but rather dives deep and locks onto its target. Falciani, whose name is similar to the Italian verb falciare (“to reap, to mow, to bulldoze”), has already harvested a great number of individual cheaters. Saturn in Gemini speaks to both the light and dark sides, which may be why Falciani seems to be a slightly ambiguous figure. He’s been accused of being a thief, of having a mistress, of trying to sell secrets for money. He claims that his trip to Lebanon was a deliberate ruse to alert banking authorities who were not responsive at the Geneva branch of HSBC. He also says that Mossad, the Israeli secret service, came to him looking for hidden terrorist funds. Saturn in Gemini is in a tight quincunx to his Scorpio Moon, creating tension between secrets and openness, skullduggery and truth. (Snowden has a similar quincunx between Mercury and the Moon.)
At the moment Falciani fled Switzerland, his Solar Arc Saturn at 7°34' Cancer was still within orb of a conjunction with the natal Ascendant (6°48'). Such an aspect in Solar Arc indicates the need to take responsibility or to experience the consequences of earlier actions. Falciani would have gone to jail if he had not fled.
In secondary progression, he had just experienced a New Moon, signaling a whole new chapter in his existence. At 25° Aquarius, it formed a sextile to his Mercury–Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius, empowering his communication and widening its scope. Falciani’s Mercury at 27° Sagittarius is conjunct the Galactic Center, as is Neptune in Snowden’s chart, suggesting that these individuals can speak to core issues that will resonate on a global scale.
Perhaps most striking in Falciani’s case are the political ramifications of the information he released. The French used some of the information as a political weapon, and Falciani noted that 3,300 French names disappeared from his original list. Christine Lagarde, then Minister of Finance, quietly gave names of tax evaders to other interested countries. A list of more than 2,000 Greek names was “lost” by the Greek government. In October 2012, when Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis published a list of 2,069 names of Greeks with secret HSBC accounts, he was arrested and accused of breaching privacy laws. In the three years since the list resurfaced, the Greek tax authorities have audited only 30 of the 2,000+ names. The Greek finance minister at the time, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, is now on trial for tampering with the list, and it has been revealed that his relatives had more than six million euros in undeclared assets. (3) Such a trial is particularly significant at a time when over half of Greek households are living close to the poverty threshold.
Falciani even claims that the information on the list was used as leverage to get the Greeks to agree to the draconian austerity measures imposed by the European Union. In February 2015, two of the wealthy individuals on the list were found dead under mysterious circumstances. The 1821 chart for the Greek revolt against the Turks shows an exact conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in early Capricorn squaring Pluto in late Pisces, in resonance with the current Uranus–Pluto cycle. The 1974 chart for Greece, with several planets in early Cancer and Libra, has been profoundly affected by the Uranus–Pluto squares (charts not shown).
Just as in the U.S. banking scandal of 2008, very few people have been prosecuted. Fines are paid, scandals are hushed, and essentially nothing changes. The U.K. has been particularly lax. In order to make sure that the information was made public, in February 2015 Falciani released the data to a consortium of journalists in 45 different countries, all of whom published the information simultaneously. His own book, in Italian, was released ten days later. With upcoming transits from Uranus and Pluto to his Sun, the story is surely not over yet.
Chart Data and Sources (in order of appearance)
- Hervé Falciani, January 9, 1972; 4:10 p.m. CET; Monaco, Monaco (43°N42', 07°E23'); AA: birth certificate from Didier Geslain.
- Switzerland (New Constitution), September 12, 1848; 11:12 a.m. LMT; Bern, Switzerland (46°N57', 07°E26'); Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes (BWH), The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, 2004, Chart 320.
- Greece (Revolution against Turks), March 25, 1821; 12:00 p.m. LMT; Kalavryta, Greece (38°N01', 22°E06'); BWH, Chart 135. Greece (Democracy), July 24, 1974; 4:00 a.m. EET; Athens, Greece (37°N58', 23°E43'); BWH, Chart 138.
1. For this quote and a more complete story, see http://www.icij.org/project/swiss-leaks
2. www.theguardian.com/news/video/2015/ feb/13/hsbc-files-whistleblower-herve-falci ani-interview
3. http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/02/26/ lagarde-list-scandal-only-ten-people-per-yearaudited/
© 2015 Lynn Bell – all rights reserved