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Wikileaks And Banking: Swiss Bank Worker In Court After Spilling Beans On Clients

Rudolf Elmer, former employee of Swiss bank Julius Baer, appeals his conviction of violating confidentiality. Elmer turned over private documents he says show the bank helping wealthy clients avoid taxes. Not surprisingly, Elmer's new best pal is

Assange and Elmer (EuroNews)
Assange and Elmer (EuroNews)
Catherine Cossy

ZURICH - His supporters see him as a David standing up to the Goliath of the Swiss banking industry, a whistleblower who was snubbed by local media and forced instead to turn to WikiLeaks.

The most impassioned of his backers will be on hand this week as the appeal opens for Rudolf Elmer, the former employee of Julius Baer, a private Swiss Bank, convicted of violating banking confidentiality and coercion.

Elmer was found guilty of turning over confidential bank documents in an attempt to show that Julius Baer had a policy of helping wealthy clients avoid taxes. The defendant is hoping to have his sentence reduced to 240 days, and his fine suspended (meaning that it goes on his record but does not have to be paid).

A crowd of left-wing protesters and several foreign journalists have traveled to Zurich to attend the trial. Elmer was fired from by Julius Baer in 2002 after working for the Swiss bank for over 20 years in the Caiman Islands. He photocopied thousands of his ex-employer's documents, which he then tried to pass on to the Swiss media, as proof of the bank's practices in the tax haven.

When the Swiss media collectively passed on the documents, he turned to WikiLeaks as a last resort. Summaries of the documents were posted on Wikileaks in 2008, and Julius Baer promptly filed a complaint against Elmer after having tried, in vain, to block access to the WikiLeaks website.

Although he never tried to hide his identity, Elmer's name was barely mentioned until Jan. 17, 2011, two days before his first trial began. On that day, he appeared with Julian Assange at the Frontline Club in London, and matter-of-factly handed the founder of WikiLeaks a CD said to contain information about 2,000 accounts of clients suspected of tax fraud.

It may have been a spectacular, media operation, but it also got him arrested just two hours after his first trial was over. He spent six months in provisional detention before being released this past summer. Though it is not clear what the ex-banker actually gave Assange, the current appeal relates to the original batch of leaked material.

Read the original article in French (subscription may be required)

photo - EuroNews

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Poland's Break With Ukraine Weakens All Enemies Of Russia — Starting With Poland

Poland’s decision to stop sending weapons to Ukraine is being driven by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party's short-term electoral calculus. Yet the long-term effects on the world stage could deeply undermine the united NATO front against Russia, and the entire Western coalition.

Photo of ​Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Bartosz T. Wieliński


WARSAW — Poland has now moved from being the country that was most loudly demanding that arms be sent to Ukraine, to a country that has suddenly announced it was withholding military aid. Even if Poland's actions won't match Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s words, the government has damaged the standing of our country in the region, and in NATO.

“We are no longer providing arms to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland,” the prime minister declared on Polsat news on Wednesday evening. He didn’t specify which type of arms he was referring to, but his statement was quickly spread on social media by leading figures of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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When news that Poland would be withholding arms to Ukraine made their way to the headlines of the most important international media outlets, no politician from PiS stepped in to refute the prime minister’s statement. Which means that Morawiecki said exactly what he meant to say.

The era of tight Polish-Ukrainian collaboration, militarily and politically, has thus come to an end.

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