WikiLeaks allegedly given details on thousands of Swiss bank accounts

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, January 17, 2011 11:37 EDT
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LONDON — A former banker behind a previous disclosure by secrets outlet WikiLeaks has turned over a second, larger set of data detailing thousands of Swiss bank accounts, according to claims made at a news conference in London on Monday.

Standing outside the Frontline Club where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was under house arrest, former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer released two optical discs he said carried files showing massive, unmitigated tax evasion by American, Asian and European individuals and corporations.

He said that many of the records dealt with accounts held by organized criminals, politicians and celebrities around the world.

Elmer, who once worked for the Swiss Bank Julius Baer and later founded the Swiss Whistleblower website, told assembled members of the press that WikiLeaks was “my only hope to get society to know what’s going on.”

“[It] is damaging our society in the way that money is moved,” he added.

Assange said it would be “a matter of weeks” before the records are released, “assuming the data is correct and once we have a look at it.”

Elmer faced a court hearing Tuesday over his first major release of data to WikiLeaks, which occurred in 2007. He left Bank Julius Baer in 2004, after eight years working for a branch in the Cayman Islands. He’s since claimed that many of Baer’s top clients engaged in tax fraud with the knowing assistance of the bank’s management.

Officials at Baer have said that Elmer’s claims were manufactured and that he falsified documents.

In a similar case, Assange disclosed in 2009 that WikiLeaks had acquired a 5-gigabyte cache of files from Bank of America. The bank, which is America’s largest, denied wrongdoing and immediately hired a team of internal investigators to determine what information the site may have.

Bank of America, along with PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Amazon.com have all since refused to conduct any business with WikiLeaks. Assange called their actions a “new form of business McCarthyism.”

This video is from Reuters, courtesy of Mediaite.

Photo credit: Carl de Souza, AFP.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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  • Anonymous

    W3>With “editing” done by Assange and others only targeted people will be implicated.

    That’s an assumption – maybe true, maybe not. Can you provide evidence of Assange manipulating the data released, other then redacting names? I think Wikileaks is a much-needed purgative to the collective corporatist colon. It’s messy, a lot of sh!t will come out – but we’ll all feel better later…