Ex-Banker Gives WikiLeaks Offshore Bank Account Data

Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer aims to 'educate about offshore abuses'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 17, 2011 6:56 AM CST | Updated Jan 17, 2011 10:01 AM CST

(Newser) – A Swiss ex-banker gave WikiLeaks data today on some 2,000 individuals with offshore bank accounts, handing the data to Julian Assange himself at a London news conference. "He is clearly a bona fide whistleblower," the WikiLeaks founder said. "We have some kind of duty to support him in that matter.” Rudolf Elmer, who headed the Cayman Islands office of Julius Baer until he was fired in 2002, earlier told Reuters that his goal is “educating society about offshore abuses and how they work.”

The data, compiled between 1990 and 2009, includes information on multimillionaires and firms based in the US, Germany, and Britain, he says. “The story is about bank secrecy and the damage it does to society when it's employed to hide tax evasion, money laundering, and corruption,” says a lawyer for Elmer, who goes on trial in Switzerland Wednesday for breaching bank secrecy. “I believe in the system of WikiLeaks," says Elmer. "Such a thing has to exist. WikiLeaks was my last hope.” Much of the material has already been given to officials in countries where the account holders are believed to live.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives for a news conference with former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, not seen, at the Frontline Club in London, Monday Jan. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Rudolf Elmer, center, claims have information and documents before handing them to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, during a news conference at the Frontline Club in London, Jan. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, accompanied by former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, right, are seen after Elmer handed Assange two CD cases full of files.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Former Swiss banker by Rudolf Elmer hands two CD cases full of files to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, left, following a news conference at the Frontline Club in London, Monday Jan. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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