Swiss whistleblower to hand over bank data to WikiLeaks

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Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer is planning to handover to WikiLeaks two CDs containing data of around 2,000 bank clients who may have been evading taxes, according to an interview published Sunday.

"The documents show that they are hiding behind bank secrecy, possibly to avoid taxes," Elmer, a former Swiss banker, told Swiss newspaper Sonntag.

The data is to be handed over on Monday, during a press conference in London during which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would also be present, said Sonntag.

However, the information would not be published immediately on the whistleblower website, said Elmer, noting: "WikiLeaks will go through the data, and if they really deal with tax evasion, they will be published later."

According to Elmer, the clients listed on the two discs include multimillionaires, multinationals and hedge funds from several countries, including Switzerland, the United States, Germany and Britain.

The data also implicate around 40 politicians.

Elmer said that the data stem from "at least three financial institutions and cover the period of 1990 and 2009.

Elmer, who was a director at Bank Julius Baer in Cayman Islands, is to appear before a Zurich court on Wednesday to answer to charges of bank secrecy violation, after he passed on clients' data to WikiLeaks in 2007.

The move led to tax evasion prosecutions in several countries against these clients.

© 2011 AFP

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