View Full Version : Swiss Whistleblower Rudolf Elmer To Hand Over Offshore Banking Secrets To WikiLeaks
16th January 2011, 14:40
The offshore bank account details of 2,000 "high net worth individuals" and corporations – detailing massive potential tax evasion – will be handed over to the WikiLeaks (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/wikileaks) organisation in London tomorrow by the most important and boldest whistleblower in Swiss banking history, Rudolf Elmer, two days before he goes on trial in his native Switzerland.
British and American individuals and companies are among the offshore clients whose details will be contained on CDs presented to WikiLeaks at the Frontline Club in London. Those involved include, Elmer tells the Observer, "approximately 40 politicians".
Elmer, who after his press conference will return to Switzerland from exile in Mauritius to face trial, is a former chief operating officer in the Cayman Islands (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/caymanislands) and employee of the powerful Julius Baer bank, which accuses him of stealing the information.
He is also – at a time when the activities of banks are a matter of public concern – one of a small band of employees and executives seeking to blow the whistle on what they see as unprofessional, immoral and even potentially criminal activity by powerful international financial institutions.
Along with the City of London and Wall Street, Switzerland is a fortress of banking and financial services, but famously secretive and expert in the concealment of wealth from all over the world for tax evasion and other extra-legal purposes.
Elmer says he is releasing the information "in order to educate society". The list includes "high net worth individuals", multinational conglomerates and financial institutions – hedge funds". They are said to be "using secrecy as a screen to hide behind in order to avoid paying tax". They come from the US, Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia – "from all over".
Clients include "business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates – from both sides of the Atlantic". Elmer says: "Well-known pillars of society will hold investment portfolios and may include houses, trading companies, artwork, yachts, jewellery, horses, and so on."
"What I am objecting to is not one particular bank, but a system of structures," he told the Observer. "I have worked for major banks other than Julius Baer, and the one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax-evasion purposes, and other things such as money-laundering – although these cases involve tax evasion."
Elmer was held in custody for 30 days in 2005, and is charged with breaking Swiss bank secrecy laws, forging documents and sending threatening messages to two officials at Julius Baer.
Elmer says: "I agree with privacy in banking for the person in the street, and legitimate activity, but in these instances privacy is being abused so that big people can get big banking organisations to service them. The normal, hard-working taxpayer is being abused also.
"Once you become part of senior management," he says, "and gain international experience, as I did, then you are part of the inner circle – and things become much clearer. You are part of the plot. You know what the real products and service are, and why they are so expensive. It should be no surprise that the main product is secrecy … Crimes are committed and lies spread in order to protect this secrecy."
The names on the CDs will not be made public, just as a much shorter list of 15 clients that Elmer handed to WikiLeaks in 2008 has remained hitherto undisclosed by the organisation headed by Julian Assange, currently on bail over alleged sex offences in Sweden, and under investigation in the US for the dissemination of thousands of state department documents
16th January 2011, 18:50
This was posted by a person with nick = Hannah Bell:
In his memoir, Hans J. Baer reveals the drive and emotions behind one of the most distinguished careers in swiss banking in the twentieth century. During his almost sixty-year career as manager of the Julius Baer Group, he helped develop it into one of the largest independent wealth managers in Switzerland. When scandal involving the dormant accounts of Jews murdered in the Third Reich rocked the staid and secretive swiss banking community, Baer brought his leadership and negotiation skills to the table, ultimately helping to form the Volcker Commission.
It's Not All About Money is the extraordinary story of a high-finance insider. As the title suggests, more than even his prominent career, his devotion to music, art, and philanthropy have been central to Baer's life. He relates his interactions with the Shah of Iran, his friendship with Carnegie Hall savior Isaac Stern, and other luminaries of art and science. Baer shares his intriguing story with humor and humility.
Isn't it extraordinary that these monsters and sociopaths earn accolades because of "philanthropy" and we're supposed to love them for it?
Moves to be made against Elmer?
If it's old news, and they have already cleared out to protect themselves Elmer's news falls with a dull thud.
Even though the list of names will not be revealed (for protection my guess) those who are on it know who they are. They won't like it. But it's too late to silence him- as long as the names are held back, that gives wikileaks and Elmer the leverage they need to wake and greet a new day. Elmer will still have to do time, I'm sure of that because he will be in their court, and facing their "laws". I think it would not be productive to speculate on who has been named and I think the list contains some surprises, but at the same time, is probably only a partial list of the miscreants involved in the raping and pillaging we have been subjected to.
Like a lot of the "Earth Shattering" news from the Guardian, it will be forgotten in about 2.5 days, and come to naught. It might cause a stir in the alternative community, but outside of that, sports fans and idol worshipers couldn't give a rip about this and would you please pass the wings? They will continue to live in denial, and when the whole system falls apart, they will be the ones most surprised of all- and then the panic will set in.
17th January 2011, 05:33
A lot of these people are hiding money that they don't need and will never spend just so they don't have to pay a bit of tax on it that they can easily afford to pay.
Oh and a few politicians are involved....what a surprise!!!
What a truly ridiculous situation this is.A whistleblower comes forward with evidence that corporations and prominent individuals including politicians have been hiding funds so as to avoid paying tax and the names of these people and corporations are prevented by law from being revealed and not only that but the person who reveals the info is prosecuted for doing so.
17th January 2011, 08:37
At least WE know that moves are afoot to hilight the injustices being covered up - even if the general public are not listening. I am grateful that people in power positions are prepared to stand up and do the right thing. You never know, this may be the chink in the wall, or the drip in the dyke, or the straw that breaks the camels back. I am hopeful that we see more and more of this. Even if the theives are not named - they must be slightly uncomfortable at the thought that their evil plans CAN come undone and they are in fact accountable to someone outside the inner circle. They can not rest on the assumption that they are anonymous......and this proves it to a degree. There is always someone who knows. Odds on their names are leaked anyway (although agree a fruitless exercise)
Good will prevail!!!
I hope that the jury is empowered and dismiss the case against Rudolph outright. That should send a clear message back to government.
17th January 2011, 13:28
A former Swiss banker has passed on data containing account details of 2,000 prominent people to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The data - which is not yet available on the Wikileaks website - was held on two discs handed over by Rudolf Elmer at a press conference in London.
Mr Assange promised full disclosure once the information had been vetted.
Mr Elmer is scheduled to go on trial in Switzerland on Wednesday for breaking bank secrecy laws.
The banker, who has given data to Wikileaks before, was fired from Swiss bank Julius Baer in 2002.
According to a report in Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag, the data covers multinationals, financial firms and wealthy individuals from many countries, including the UK, US and Germany, and covers the period 1990-2009.
Serious Fraud Office
"Once we have looked at the data... there will be full revelation," said Mr Assange, who is currently on bail and confined to the UK due to an extradition request from Sweden.
He said the data would be vetted but that it was difficult to say how long this would take. The vetting would depend on the volume of information and how it was delegated, Mr Assange said, although he suggested it could be as little as two weeks.
Other groups - such as the Tax Justice Network or financial media outlets - might be asked to help in the vetting process, he added.
Mr Assange also said some information was likely to be handed over to the authorities - mentioning specifically the UK's Serious Fraud Office - as was the case with a previous leak concerning Icelandic banks.
Although it was not confirmed what activities might be covered by the data, the Wikileaks head noted that previous data from Julius Baer provided by Mr Elmer had shed light on tax evasion, the hiding of proceeds of criminal acts and "the protection of assets of those about to fall out of political favour".
"I'm against the system. I know how the system works," said Mr Elmer at the press conference. He said a sophisticated network existed to funnel illicit money into secret offshore accounts.
"I've been there. I've done the job. I know what is the day-to-day business," he said, explaining why he thought it important to identify himself as the source.
The banker, who worked as Julius Baer's chief operating officer in the Cayman Islands, said he and his family faced pressure akin to "a fire-breathing dragon with several heads" after he decided to blow the whistle.
He said he was put in prison in Switzerland for 30 days for violating Swiss banking rules, and that he was offered money and the withdrawal of charges against him in order to buy his silence.
He said the data included the offshore accounts of about 40 politicians, and covered accounts at three banks, including his former employer.
The banker said that he and his wife had written a letter to German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck, offering to provide the data for free, but received no response.
Abother avenue for psyops or good stuff?
17th January 2011, 13:43
Well, things keep getting better don't they? I really respect the whistleblowers, aside from Wikileaks which give them somewhere to release their info. They are really people of the highest ideals that sacrifice themselves because the system is sooooo rotten. I wish Mr. Elmer the very best of luck. If there's a god I hope he helps R.Elmer. I've got the feeling that the Vatican is going ape over this.
18th January 2011, 00:52
It appears that the names of the institutions and individuals that were evading tax will be released by Wiki in the next few weeks.
WikiLeaks given 2000 secret bank files
Paola Totaro LONDON
January 18, 2011
A whistleblowing Swiss banker hands supposed offshore banking secrets to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a London news conference.
THE Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer has provided WikiLeaks with two CDs containing information on more than 2000 bank clients suspected of tax evasion.
The disks were handed over in London last night to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. They are said to contain secret bank details of clients, including politicians, multinationals, hedge funds and organised-crime figures.
Mr Assange, on bail before an extradition hearing in London next month over Swedish sexual assault charges, said that Mr Elmer has been fighting to have the information made public for five years.
"I am here today to support him," Mr Assange said. "He is going through a prosecution in Switzerland and he is a whistleblower. He has more to say and give to the world to show asset-hiding, whether it be for tax evasion or to hide proceeds of criminal acts or to protect assets from people in nations who are about to fall out of political favour.
"There will be full revelation of names [by WikiLeaks] at a later date, assuming the data is correct and once we have had a look at it."
Mr Assange said the information could be released in the next few weeks.
Mr Elmer, 55, is a former executive at Bank Julius Baer, one of Switzerland's top private banks.
He said that many of those identified in the CDs have exploited bank secrecy laws to avoid taxation. However, he said he could not – and would not – reveal names contained in the CDs due to the complexity of the systems used to hide money and the difficulties in unravelling the real beneficiaries.
"If you can't destroy the evidence, beat the witness; that is what is happening to me," he said. "Others sold information to foreign governments. If I did that I could not stand here and feel that my conscience would allow me. I did offer the information free to [the] German Finance Minister. I got no response.
"I want to talk about the Swiss secrecy system, which is damaging our society. The short story is simple: I was in the Cayman Islands and there was a mouse tail and I started to pull on it. The tail got bigger, looked like a dragon tail. I went back to Switzerland and it became bigger, a fire-breathing dragon with several heads. One head was the banks, the other the Swiss press, to an extent, and they all came after me and my family."
Mr Elmer faces court in Zurich tomorrow over allegations that he breached Swiss banking laws after he handed client data to WikiLeaks in 2007.
He left the bank in 2004 after eight years at its Cayman Islands trust subsidiary. During that time, he has said, he became aware of widespread tax evasion by prominent customers and that this occurred with the full knowledge of the bank's top management.
The bank has denied the claims and accused Mr Elmer of continuing a long campaign which allegedly saw him approach bank clients and pressure them.
Mr Elmer in return has alleged he has been followed and threatened. Swiss journalists who have followed the story have called into question some of his claims.
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