20 Jan 2011

Former Swiss banker on trial for leaking client data

3:42 pm on 20 January 2011

A former Swiss banker has admitted he sent private client data to tax authorities, but denies blackmail and making a bomb threat against his former employer.

Rudolf Elmer, 55, is on trial in Zurich for breaching bank secrecy. He was among the first to use WikiLeaks to publish private bank documents.

Mr Elmer says he gave more information to the website on Monday after Swiss authorities failed to act on it.

He argues he did not breach Swiss banking laws, as the leaked documents referred to accounts in the Caymans.

The BBC reports the trial relates to previous data disclosures that he banker made.

He sent bank emails in 2005 threatening to pass offshore bank account details of Julius Baer clients onto tax authorities in Switzerland, the United States and Britain, as well as to the media.

Mr Elmer later carried out his threat. He told the court that he did so because he felt morally bound to expose what he saw as tax evasion.

The data was also passed by Mr Elmer to WikiLeaks in 2007

Mr Elmer says a campaign of "psychoterror" was waged against him and his family and that money was offered to him to keep quiet.