Money & Banking

WikiLeaks turns guns on the world's richest people

Vidya Ram London | Updated on November 16, 2017 Published on January 21, 2011

Whistleblowing Web site WikiLeaks will now turn its attention to some of the world's richest people.

Mr Rudolf Elmer, a Swiss whistleblower, handed over two CDs reportedly detailing massive tax evasion to WikiLeaks founder Mr Julian Assange at a packed press conference at London's Frontline Club on Monday morning.

Mr Elmer said they included details of 2,000 accounts, including details of high net worth individuals not only across Europe, but from the US and Asia too.

On trial

Mr Elmer, a former employee of Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer, will go on trial in Zurich on Wednesday charged with breaching the country's stringent banking secrecy laws. He has already spent 30 days in prison, after which he moved to Mauritius.

Mr Elmer described Mr Assange as his “only hope to get the society to know what is going on,” after failure to make contact with Swiss federal tax authorities, left him on the verge of giving up.

“I am against the system and I know how the system works,” he said. “It's damaging our society – how money is moved from banks to multinational corporations to high net worth individuals and hidden offshore,” said Elmer.

Mr Elmer said he would not reveal any company names or that of high net worth individuals, but would just hand the material to WikiLeaks in order to have it investigated. However, Mr Assange said that there would be “full revelation” once the data were examined, and could be published within a couple of weeks.

Some material could also be handed over to Britain's Serious Fraud Office, as was the case when WikiLeaks handed over information two years ago on Icelandic banks.

Asked whether the data included clear violations of the law, Mr Elmer said it was not for him to comment on that matter.

“As a former compliance officer – if we look at the documents, a normal professional would conclude what I concluded – to make the decision to publish the data.”

Published on January 21, 2011

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