Swiss Whistleblower Hands Over 2,000 Bank Files to Wikileaks: Celebs, Politicians and Banks Included

Today, whistleblower and former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer gave Wikilinks two CD’s that contain details of the bank accounts of more than 2,000 American, European and multinational companies. Elmer says there are over 40 politicians, business leaders, celebrities, organized crime leaders and three major financial institutions including his former employer Bank Julius Baer. Elmer says the documents contain evidence of massive tax evasion and other illegal activities by banks. He had attempted unsuccessfully to give the material to tax authorities and members of the media. If the documents do reveal the illegalities he claims, it could force legal authorities, including the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies to engage criminal and civil prosecutions on a large scale. It is presently unclear as to whether Wikileaks will publish all of the data including the names of all of the individuals whose accounts are referenced. Publication of the documents could lead to additional criminal prosecutions for breaches of various laws concerning privacy, if the United States agencies have jurisdiction over Wikileaks, which is likely to be the case. In addition, if the individual names are released or identifying information, court orders will be sought to remove the data from the net, which is very difficult to do because of the way in which Wikileaks is set up. If various governments wish to halt such releases of sensitive information, they are not without recourse, however. A coordinated investigation and disruption of the Wikileaks organization is possible by tracking the identification of the individual members via their computers, cell phones and bank accounts. In addition, the governments could use hackers to infiltrate the group. Whether this will occur depends on how much of a threat the governments perceive this to be. It is a new paradigm for government agencies to consider, including the intelligence communities of various nations who have a lot to lose from the release of sensitive data.