PDA

View Full Version : Wikileaks and the banksters


bjkeefe
01-17-2011, 04:54 PM
We've heard quite a bit over the past month or so about the banking documents that Wikileaks says it has. Most of the speculation has had to do with Bank of America. But here's something new (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/business/global/18baer.html) (to me, at least):

Ex-Swiss Banker Gives Data to WikiLeaks
By RAVI SOMAIYA and JULIA WERDIGIER
Published: January 17, 2011

LONDON — A former Swiss bank executive said on Monday that he had given the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, details of more than 2,000 prominent individuals and companies that he contends engaged in tax evasion and other possible criminal activity.

Rudolf M. Elmer, the former head of the Cayman Islands office of the prominent Swiss bank Julius Baer, refused to identify any of the individuals or companies, but told reporters at a press conference that about 40 politicians and “pillars of society” worldwide are among them.

He told The Observer newspaper over the weekend that those named in the documents come from “the U.S., Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia — from all over,” and include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates — from both sides of the Atlantic.”

Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks would verify and release the information, including the names, in as little as two weeks. He suggested possible partnerships with financial news organizations and said he would consider turning the information over to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, a government agency that investigates financial corruption.

Mr. Elmer said he had turned to WikiLeaks to educate society about what he considers an unfair system designed to serve the rich and aid money launderers after his offers to provide the data to universities and governments were spurned and, in his opinion, the Swiss media failed to cover the substance of his allegations. “The man in the street needs to know how this system works,” he said, referring to the offshore trusts that many “high net worth individuals” across the world use to evade taxes.

His former employers released a statement on Friday denying all wrongdoing ...

[...]

WikiLeaks and Bank Julius Baer previously clashed in early 2008 when the anti-secrecy organization published hundreds of documents pertaining to its offshore activities. On that occasion, it did not identify the 15 individuals concerned. But the bank succeeded, briefly, in gaining a court order to shut down the WikiLeaks.org Web site anyway. The injunction was subsequently overturned and the case was dropped.

[...]

In London on Monday, Mr. Assange said that financial institutions “operate outside the rule of law” because of their economic power. WikiLeaks itself had, he said, been “economically censored” by companies like Visa and MasterCard, which stopped processing donations to it late last year ...