The founder of the internet whistleblower site WikiLeaks has criticised Switzerland for detaining a Swiss banker on suspicion of breaching banking secrecy.
Julian Assange told the Sonntag newspaper that Switzerland’s actions were drawing renewed international attention to its banking practices after the detention of former Bank Julius Bär employee Rudolf Elmer.
“Mr Elmer is in prison because he has revealed a criminal offshore system of tax evasion in which Swiss banks play a leading role,” Assange is quoted as saying. He argued that the authorities should rather be investigating the tax evasion claim.
It was confirmed on Saturday that the authorities had placed him under investigative detention. A judge is to decide on Monday whether to prolong this.
Elmer, who was given a suspended fine on Wednesday after being found guilty of threatening his former employer, is to appeal against the decision.
He was re-arrested in Zurich hours after his court appearance on suspicion of violating banking laws by handing over two CDs to WikiLeaks in London on Monday.
Elmer claims they contain details of around 2,000 offshore bank accounts.
swissinfo.ch and agencies