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.
(Read more WikiLeaks stories.)