A top level bank executive has handed details of 2,000 “high net worth individuals”, including politicians, involved in tax evasion over to Wikileaks, leading to speculation over whether telco giant Vodafone will be among those involved.
It is suspected that tax boss Dave Hartnett at Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs had controversially allowed Vodafone to walk away from £6bn in tax revenues.
Rudolph Elmer, a former chief operating officer at Julius Baer bank, is about to be extradited from the Cayman Island’s back to Switzerland as he is accused of stealing the information from the bank.
Whistleblower Elmer is handing the information over to Wikileaks “in order to educate society,” having witnessed an environment of secrecy among the higher echelons of the banking world which has included 40 politicians allegedly committing tax evasion crimes.
According to Elmer’s statement at a press conference, those included in the information supplied to Wikileaks include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates – from both sides of the Atlantic,” according to the Guardian.
Elmer says: “Well-known pillars of society will hold investment portfolios and may include houses, trading companies, artwork, yachts, jewellery, horses, and so on.”
“What I am objecting to is not one particular bank, but a system of structures,” he told the Observer. “I have worked for major banks other than Julius Baer, and the one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax-evasion purposes, and other things such as money-laundering – although these cases involve tax evasion.”
“I agree with privacy in banking for the person in the street, and legitimate activity, but in these instances privacy is being abused so that big people can get big banking organisations to service them. The normal, hard-working taxpayer is being abused also.”
“Once you become part of senior management,” he says, “and gain international experience, as I did, then you are part of the inner circle – and things become much clearer. You are part of the plot. You know what the real products and service are, and why they are so expensive. It should be no surprise that the main product is secrecy … Crimes are committed and lies spread in order to protect this secrecy.”
It is thought that Elmer sought the assistance of Julian Assange’s whistleblowing organisation after the banks and Swiss courts refused to act up about his concerns.
The bank released a statement regarding the information which will apparently not be disclosed to the public: “The aim of [Elmer’s] activities was, and is, to discredit Julius Baer as well as clients in the eyes of the public. With this goal in mind, Mr Elmer spread baseless accusations and passed on unlawfully acquired, respectively retained, documents to the media, and later also to WikiLeaks. To back up his campaign, he also used falsified documents.”