Swiss ex-banker charged with giving data to WikiLeaks

ZURICH Wed Jul 9, 2014 9:06am EDT

Former Swiss private banker Rudolf Elmer (R) is accompanied by his lawyer Ganden Tethong Blattner (L) as he arrives before a hearing of an appeal at the high court in Zurich November 17, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Former Swiss private banker Rudolf Elmer (R) is accompanied by his lawyer Ganden Tethong Blattner (L) as he arrives before a hearing of an appeal at the high court in Zurich November 17, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - A Swiss prosecutor brought charges against former Julius Baer (BAER.VX) private banker Rudolf Elmer on Wednesday for allegedly handing over confidential data to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and attempting to pass on files to German officials.

The former head of Baer's Cayman Islands office has been under investigation by Zurich prosecutors since 2011, when he was arrested for giving Assange what - according to Elmer - were two discs containing confidential information on about 2,000 offshore banking clients.

"The Zurich prosecutor for economic crime brought charges against Rudolf Elmer on July 9, 2014, for breaching banking secrecy and for forgery," the prosecutor said in a statement.

The charges refer to data passed to Assange during a news conference in London and to alleged attempts by Elmer to pass on confidential client data to German officials in 2009 and 2010.

In the past, some German states have bought data leaked from Swiss banks in order to get at names of their citizens who evade taxes, but it is not clear if Elmer's case has any connection to this.

Elmer, who in past has said he wants to draw attention to financial abuses, could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters on Wednesday. The Zurich prosecutor said Elmer denies having acted criminally.

WikiLeaks has angered U.S. authorities by publishing hundreds of secret diplomatic cables.

(Reporting By Katharina Bart; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Comments (3)
jbsds wrote:
A person has to wonder who exactly is behind the attempts to arrest Assange and squash the information he has. How much of this information is government secrets and how much is information on the wealthiest people in the world and their shady dealings with off shore accounts and their attempts to avoid paying taxes. Who is pushing the buttons? Would it be a senator or other government official trying to safeguard this country’s secrets, or is it that senator or official working to pay back political campaign contributions. The whole thing reeks.

Jul 09, 2014 10:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
Tax cheats, worldwide, cost us (the law abiding tax payers of every country) Trillion$ each year. It helps to remember that many tax evaders are RICH already and could pay their taxes with their pocket change.

If we are ever to cut down on these slime ball tax evaders, countries with banking laws that protect and even encourage, the evaders, must face tough penalties. The Swiss capitulated recently because a “black ball” by the US would have brought their banking industry to it’s knees, and they knew it.

Other countries must do the same thing!

Jul 09, 2014 12:03pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TamiPepperman wrote:
“Germany” is the Federal Republic of Germany located in the District of Columbia, who could they have passed secrets to? Define “bank”, as the 1789 Judiciary Act, says this is “court”, and is also confirmed in Black’s Law Dictionary, defining banks, as courts, where the judges sit, evidencing also human trafficking and Genocide at the hands of the U.S. Senate, and House of Representatives…poor Assange, I wonder if he volunteered to take one for the team, or if his handlers volunteered him?

Jul 09, 2014 6:50pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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