Monday, January 10, 2011

Mirror, Mirror, On The wall, Which Bank Is The Most Evil Of All?

The Witch Hunt Continues...
A Swiss banker, Rudolf Elmer, who blew the Whistle on Swiss private bank Julius Bär "whose actions caused a U.S. judge to briefly shut down WikiLeaks three years ago goes on trial next week for distributing confidential documents."

Journalists trying to investigate the story threatened in the Caymen Islands?
He then moved to Mauritius and began sending global tax authorities what he said were the secrets of his former employer.

Elmer said he initially tried to fight offshore abuses himself but didn’t get anywhere. When the tax authorities failed to act on the information he provided, he decided to go public with it and contacted Wikileaks

Wikipedia eventually published documents exposing allegedly illegal activities by Julius Bär clients in the Cayman Islands (see box).

Julius Bär did not want to comment. Wikileaks whistle-blowers are usually anonymous. Why was it different with you?

R.E.: I wasn’t looking for anonymity. I signed the first whistle-blower letter to emphasise the credibility but also to show my civil disobedience. It is my conviction that my name is important. People then got in touch with me and I received additional information from other bank clients and further data.

Also, I can now show how Swiss and international legal and fiscal authorities dealt with the data, which in practice was as follows: the Swiss authorities didn’t take up the data, although it concerned abuse within Switzerland; foreign authorities on the other hand launched successful criminal and retroactive taxation procedures and received several million dollars in evaded taxes. The matter is still not yet over.
In 2004 Elmer noticed two men following him to work. Later, he saw them outside his daughter's kindergarten, then from his kitchen window. His wife was followed in her car. The men offered his daughter chocolates in the street and late at night drove a car at high speed into the cul-de-sac where he lived. The stalking continued, on and off, for more than two years. The police said there was nothing they could do. In 2005, they searched his house using a prosecutor's warrant, and he was imprisoned for 30 days, accused of violating Swiss bank secrecy, which is, as he put it, "an official violation, like murder".

Julian Assange announced that in early 2011 WikiLeaks will release information about corruption in the banking industry.
We have one related to a bank coming up, that's a megaleak. It's not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it's either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it," Assange said in the interview posted on the Forbes website.

He declined to identify the bank, describing it only as a major U.S. bank that is still in existence.

Asked what he wanted to be the result of the disclosure, he replied: "I'm not sure. It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume."

He compared this release to emails that were unveiled as a result of the collapse of disgraced energy company Enron Corp.

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 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

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