January 17, 2011

Wikileaks To Publish Swiss Bank Data

A former bank executive, who says he wanted to expose tax evasion by some of the world's richest and most famous people, has handed over two CDs worth of documents to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for publication on the controversial website.

Rudolf Elmer, a former executive at Julius Baer Bank, gave the CDs to Assange during a press conference at London's Frontline Club, on Monday, according to reports by the UK newspaper The Independent.

BBC News said that Elmer, who was fired by the Swiss bank he worked for in 2002 and is currently on trial from breaking secrecy laws, said that the CDs contained the details of approximately 2,000 "high net worth" individuals, including politicians, businessmen and women, art dealers, and others from the US, the UK, Germany, Australia, Asia, and other nations around the world.

"I do think, as a banker, I have the right to stand up if something is wrong," Elmer told The Independent. "I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. From that point of view, I wanted to let society know what I know. It is damaging our society."

Assange has promised to publish the information once it is reviewed, telling The Independent that Elmer is "clearly a bona fide whistleblower" and that he felt that "we have some duty to support him on that matter."

The data could be published by Wikileaks within the next two weeks, and according to BBC News, he is also considering turning over some of the information to the proper authorities, including the UK's Serious Fraud Office or the Tax Justice Network.

Also during the press conference, Assange, who is currently fighting extradition to Sweden, where he faces trial on sex crimes, announced that his website had published just 2.3% of the 250,000-plus US embassy cables in their possession, and that Wikileaks was also preparing other disclosures in the near future.


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