Former Swiss banker hands over offshore banking details to WikiLeaks

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 17, 2011; 1:04 PM

LONDON - A former Swiss banker on Monday publicly turned over to WikiLeaks confidential offshore banking details of about 2,000 account holders, setting the stage for new revelations by the whistleblower group.

"I am against the system, and I know how the system works, I know that from a day-to-day business," said Rudolf Elmer, a former senior banker who worked in the Cayman Islands office of the Swiss bank Julius Baer.

Speaking at a news conference here, Elmer refused to be drawn out on the names of the wealthy bank clients he suggests are guilty of tax evasion. But Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, said in accepting the banking documents that their public release could come within weeks, or as soon as the dossier can be vetted.

Assange, who is in Britain fighting an extradition warrant to Sweden, where he faces sex offence allegations, said he might hand over the banking data to British authorities and also enlist the help of the financial news organizations before publication.

The 39-year-old Australian also complained that WikiLeaks has been "economically censored" by various financial companies including Visa Europe, against which WikiLeaks is "involved in preliminary actions," he said.

"I am here today to support him," Assange said of Elmer. "He is a whistleblower, and he has important things to say."

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