Ex-Julius Baer whistleblower released

Former Julius Baer banker Rudolf Elmer, who has been in the spotlight for eight years after being suspected of handing sensitive bank client data to whistleblower website Wikileaks, has been released from custody.

Elmer has been sentenced to a 14-month suspended jail term after being found guilty of forgery and making threats in a long-running legal battle involving his former employer. However, the Zurich court on Tuesday turned down prosecution demands to convict the 60-year-old for breaching banking secrecy laws, according to a report on Swiss news website swissinfo.ch.

Elmer’s defence team had argued that he should not have to answer such charges as he was an employee of a Julius Baer subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands – outside the jurisdiction of Swiss banking secrecy laws, the report said.

Elmer’s prison sentence has been suspended for three years. He was found guilty of making threats against Julius Baer after being fired in 2002. His trial was held in June with the judge recording his verdict on Tuesday after deliberation.

The trial also heard an appeal from Swiss prosecutors who argued that Elmer should have been convicted of more offences during a 2011 court case.

‘Not a whistleblower, but an ordinary criminal’

Swiss news agency SDA quoted the judge as saying during the proceedings that Elmer is “not a whistleblower, but an ordinary criminal”.

The judge also cited a psychiatric report attesting that Elmer has a narcissistic disorder, and that rather than seeking to expose misconduct by his former employer, he simply “saw himself as a victim of an environment that did not honour him appropriately,” the report said.

History of Elmer trials

Elmer has been arrested several times and has faced two previous trials. Days before his first trial in 2011, Elmer called a press conference in London to hand over two CDs to Wikileaks boss Julian Assange, claiming they contained bank data.

He was arrested straight after his 2011 trial (which saw him fined for threatening Julius Bär employees) and faced court again in 2015, accused of breaking banking secrecy rules in connection with the Wikileaks publicity stunt.

Although Elmer was fined in that appearance, he was cleared of handing Wikileaks data as it could not be proved what material was contained on the CDs.

Elmer previously served 220 days in prison,

Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. Deputy Editor, International Investment. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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