PARIS -- Hervé Falciani, a former Swiss bank employee who sparked an uproar across Europe by revealing formerly secret account information about tax evaders, is assuming a new role as an anti-corruption adviser to a fledgling political party in Spain.
On Tuesday, Mr. Falciani -- who took refuge in France earlier this year to evade criminal charges in Switzerland-- and others kicked off the start of an anti-corruption wing of Partido X, Spain's newest political party.
Since Partido X was registered last December, it has been criticized for insisting on the anonymity of its members, who communicate largely through the Internet. The party argued that it wanted to avoid creating a cult of personalities, but this weekend it revealed the participation of Mr. Falciani as an adviser with an outsize, global profile.
Mr. Falciani, a former systems engineer, has wreaked havoc within the banking universe since 2008, when he amassed secret information while working at HSBC in Geneva about bank accounts at the core of the so-called Lagarde list, which roiled Greek politics with revelations of oligarchs and politicians who avoided taxes.
His information also helped Spain collect back taxes of more than €260 million, or $350 million, and identify some 650 tax evaders. In France, it is credited with helping reap €186 million in back taxes. This month the French tax authorities confirmed that they were working with Mr. Falciani to exploit his expertise to develop strategies to combat tax evasion.
The Partido X organized an event in Madrid on Tuesday and six other Spanish cities as part of a broader effort to start raising money through crowdfunding. Mr. Falciani, 41, a native of Monaco who remains under protection by guards provided by the French, was scheduled to make a presentation by Skype to the Spanish organization.
"It's an effort to spread the word that we all have responsibilities as citizens," Mr. Falciani said of the new political party, whose slogan is, "Only the public can stop them." He added, "We have rules and we have rights and part of our duty is to ensure that we have the right answers and the transparency of governments and banks."
Mr. Falciani lived in Spain during 2012 and 2013, initially imprisoned by the authorities there and later released after a judge denied a Swiss extradition request. He is not a Spanish citizen. In the summer, Mr. Falciani surfaced in France, protected by three armed guards.
Since then he has also cooperated with French lawmakers, who issued a report in the summer that calculated that Mr. Falciani's information included 127,311 clients, including 6,313 from France who were suspected of tax evasion. HSBC and the Swiss authorities are seeking to prosecute Mr. Falciani for theft, though HSBC dismisses his information as flawed and error-ridden.
Mr. Falciani said the efforts of the anti-corruption wing of Partido X were not directed only at Spain, where the nation's ruling party has been tarnished by a scandal involving a former party treasurer who amassed €22 million in secret Swiss accounts.
"This is part of a continuing effort," Mr. Falciani said. "Lack of banking controls has led to dangerous situations. You can't fully trust and rely on institutions unless you have back-up controls. This is a way for citizens to participate."
This article originally appeared in The New York Times. First Published October 8, 2013 2:01 PM