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No jail for whistleblower banker

posted 19 Jan 2011, 14:54 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Jan 2011, 14:57 ]
Former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, who became one of the first whistleblowers to use WikiLeaks to publish private bank documents, escapes prison after being found guilty of violating bank secrecy.
SWITZERLAND-WIKILEAKS BANKER - Former Swiss banker Rudolph Elmer ignored journalists' questions as he arrived at a Zurich court to answer charges that he breached banking secrecy.

The sacked Julius Baer executive, who became one of the first whistleblowers to use WikiLeaks to publish private bank documents, escaped a prison sentence after being found guilty of passing on client tax details and of threatening a former colleague.

Elmer, who handed over new information of rich tax evaders to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Monday, had admitted sending confidential bank data to tax authorities.

But he had denied blackmail and making a bomb threat against Julius Baer's Zurich headquarters and said he never took payments in return for secret data.

Prosecutors had asked for Elmer, who ran Baer's office in the Caymen Islands until his dismissal in 2002, to be jailed for 8-months.

Instead the court fined him just over seven-and-a-half thousand dollars, suspended for two-years.

Wikileaks says it will publish the new revelations within weeks - putting Switzerland's banking secrecy rules back under the spotlight.

Helen Long, Reuters

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