WikiLeaks banker Elmer arrested for breaching bank secrecyJanuary 20th, 2011 - 4:05 pm ICT by BNO News
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (BNO NEWS) — WikiLeaks banker Rudolf Elmer on Wednesday was arrested for breaching bank secrecy by giving data to the controversial website.
According to Le Tribune de Geneve newspaper, the Zurich District Court ruled that the former banker was guilty of repeated violations of bank secrecy, attempted coercion and threatening his former employer.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of eight months in prison and a fine of 2,000 francs ($2,092) but the defense called for a penalty of 1,050 francs ($1,098) as it considered Elmer only guilty of attempted coercion.
The former banker received a 7,200 francs ($7,500) suspended fine but avoided jail time. However, he was arrested just hours after the trial for another bank secrecy offense.
Elmer is accused of giving two CDs to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London last Monday. The discs contained data of about 2,000 offshore bank accounts belonging to undisclosed multinational companies and people in business, entertainment and politics.
The state prosecutor’s office is investigating whether Elmer violated Swiss banking law Elmer’s attorney said that Swiss banking secrecy does not apply to data from the Cayman Islands, the alleged location of the bank accounts.
Elmer said that he did not receive any money from Assange in exchange for the data. He stole such information after being fired from his job at a Julius Bär Zurich bank branch in Cayman Islands.
Then he tried to extort from the senior-executives of the Swiss-based bank. He was also accused of making a bomb threat against the bank’s Cayman Islands branch but Elmer said his threats were limited to emails.
The Swiss banker helped bring WikiLeaks to prominence when he disclosed secret details of his clients three years ago. He was then labeled as a “whistleblower”.
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