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Swiss whistleblower detained: report

Published on 23/01/2011

Former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, who was found guilty of breaching bank secrecy laws over his transfer of client data to the online website Wikileaks, has been remanded in custody, press reports said Sunday.

The former chief operating officer at private bank Julius Baer’s subsidiary in the Cayman Islands was detained Saturday because he risks destroying evidence, his lawyer Ganden Tethong Blattner told ATS news agency.

Elmer plans to appeal against Wednesday’s court decision that found him guilty of handing over secret files to the whistleblowing site and sentenced him to a suspended fine of 7,200 Swiss francs (5,500 euros), the lawyer said.

Dismissed by the bank in 2002, the 55-year-old former banker handed over a first set of bank client data to Wikileaks in 2007 in his stated quest to expose tax evasion systems.

But barely out of court, the ex-banker was arrested a second time by Swiss police for having handed over another two CD-ROMs to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at a press conference in London on Monday.

The data, he said, came from at least three financial institutions and covered a period from 1990 to 2009.

“Switzerland puts itself in the crosshairs with such acts,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Sonntag daily, adding that Elmer’s detention justifies faster publication by the website of the data he submitted.

WikiLeaks said on its website that it will publish the documents at the most “in two weeks.”