Nytt

En tidligere ansatt i den sveitsiske banken Julius Baer har gitt Wikileaks opplysninger om hemmelige offshore-kontoer til 2.000 prominente personer og firmaer. Opplysningene vil snart bli gjort offentlig.

Julian Assange er underlagt husarrest og meldeplikt i Storbritannia, men det forhindret ham ikke å stå frem på en pressekonferanse med Rudolf Elmer og vise frem diskettene med den hemmelige informasjonen.

The data – which is not yet available on the Wikileaks website – was held on two discs handed over by Rudolf Elmer at a press conference in London.

Mr Assange promised full disclosure once the information had been vetted.

Mr Elmer is scheduled to go on trial in Switzerland on Wednesday for breaking bank secrecy laws.

The banker, who has given data to Wikileaks before, was fired from Swiss bank Julius Baer in 2002.

According to a report in Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag, the data covers multinationals, financial firms and wealthy individuals from many countries, including the UK, US and Germany, and covers the period 1990-2009.

Elmer var sjef for Baers offshore-kontor på Cayman Islands. Han vet hvordan systemet fungerer og akter å avsløre det.

Det er ingen tvil om at slike kontoer har liten sympati i offentligheten. Avsløringene kan få konsekvenser, om ikke rettslige, så omdømmemessig, for både selskaper og politikere. Dem skal det være 40 av.

«I’m against the system. I know how the system works,» said Mr Elmer at the press conference. He said a sophisticated network existed to funnel illicit money into secret offshore accounts.

«I’ve been there. I’ve done the job. I know what is the day-to-day business,» he said, explaining why he thought it important to identify himself as the source.

The banker, who worked as Julius Baer’s chief operating officer in the Cayman Islands, said he and his family faced pressure akin to «a fire-breathing dragon with several heads» after he decided to blow the whistle.

He said he was put in prison in Switzerland for 30 days for violating Swiss banking rules, and that he was offered money and the withdrawal of charges against him in order to buy his silence.

He said the data included the offshore accounts of about 40 politicians, and covered accounts at three banks, including his former employer.

Assange demonstrer igjen hvilken enorm makt lekkasjer har i et åpent samfunn. Men det er grossistprinsippet og mangelen på siling som vekker frykt blant folk i posisjon.

Tyske myndigheter sitter i en klemme. De ble tilbudt opplysningene, men svarte ikke. De kjøpte derimot selv lignende opplysninger om plasseringer i Luxembourg for ikke mange år siden. Det fikk mange skatteflyktninger til å krype til korset.

Men noen slik deal ligger ikke i kortene her. Assange synes mer interessert i å knuse systemet og bryr seg ikke om collateral damage.

Wikileaks given data on Swiss bank accounts