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WikiLeaks data trial Banking whistleblower Elmer escapes jail term

Rudolf Elmer is the most well-known of Swiss whistleblowers

(Keystone)

A Swiss banker who worked with WikiLeaks to blow the whistle on offshore banking practices was fined at a Zurich court on Monday, escaping a jail term after breaking Swiss banking secrecy laws.

Rudolf Elmer was a senior executive at Julius Baer until he was fired in 2002. In 2007, he passed on information to the WikiLeaks website that he claimed showed his former employer set up trust funds and other banking constructs to help clients evade taxes through offshore accounts.

In 2011, he staged a press conference in London where he passed on more information to the site and its now well-known founder, Julian Assange, before being convicted of breaking secrecy laws for the first time. At the time, Elmer said the two CDs he handed over contained confidential information on around 2,000 offshore banking clients.

The second trial, which ended on Monday, found him guilty of breaking banking secrecy laws and forging documents but cleared him of charges related to the two data CDs.

The court concluded it had not been proven that the information on the discs was truly secret.

Although the Federal Prosecutor’s Office had called for a jail term of over three years, plus a ban on working in the banking industry, the Zurich court sentenced Elmer to a fine of CHF45,000 ($52,097) with conditions and ordered him to pay court costs of around CHF25,000.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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