Wikileaks Swiss banker, Rudolf Elmer, has been found guilty of coercion and breaking SwitzerlandÂ’s banking secrecy laws today in a one day trial in Zurich.
Prosecutors claim that Elmer illegally gave details on clients from the Julius Baer bank in the Cayman Island that he worked for to the media and Wikileaks.Â He also then tried to extort money from the bankÂ’s top senior executives.
“I made big mistakes, I admit that,” he said, reports Yahoo News.Â “I wouldn’t say I’m a hero, but also not that I’m a traitor.”
Prosecutors allege that Elmer is just a disgruntled employee and that he is guilty of sending threats to the bank after being fired, including a bomb threat.
Elmer denies any bomb threats but does admit that he threatened banking officials with the exposure of banking secrets of some of their wealthy clients. Elmer says he was trying to expose a wide spread system of tax evasion.
“The more I rose professionally at Julius Baer, the more I became involved in illegal activities that were required of me,” he told the court.
On Monday, Elmer handed over two data CDs to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, which supposedly contain data for more than 2,000 account holders.
Although Elmer is being portrayed as just a disgruntled employee by prosecutors and the data he has handed over to Wikileaks possibly less than spectacular, it certainly raises the question of why Swiss banks are busy setting up branches in the Cayman Islands.Â Is this a tactic to take advantage of tax loopholes?Â Regardless of the validity of ElmerÂ’s claims, it has turned the public eye to focus on the practices of these branches.
The Zurich’s Regional Court judge ruled to fine Elmer over 6,000 Swiss Francs (roughly $6,200 US dollars) but denied the prosecutors request for an eight month prison sentence.
Photo Source: Yahoo News
Â© 2011 Mae Lynn Adkins