The former Swiss banker who is set expose the bank accounts of wealthy tax-evaders and other prominent individuals to WikiLeaks, has himself been found guilty in a Swiss court of having violated the country’s band secrecy laws through some previous disclosures of bank data.
Judge Sebastian Aeppli of Zurich's Regional Court fined Rudolf Elmer more than 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,250), but rejected demands from the prosecution to send Elmer to prison for eight-months.
Elmer, who headed Julius Baer's office in the Cayman Islands, has admitted passing on sensitive bank data and also sending threatening letters to his former employer.
However, he said he did not violate Swiss banking laws since the documents he leaked concerned accounts based in the Caymans.
The current trial does not have anything to do with the sensitive information Elmer recently handed to WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange, the boss of WikiLeaks, has said he will release Elmer’s data files in a matter of weeks, once it has been checked.
The one-day trial features some bizarre charges and counter-charges.
Elmer alleged, among other things, that his former company had followed him.
We were under surveillance, he said. The situation was very threatening. We were very scared and I thought the bank was behind it. I was in an extreme situation. It's logical that I developed a defense strategy.
The court case also revealed that Elmer was fired by Julius Baer in 2002 because he refused to submit to a lie detector test.
Elmer also said the bank offered a bribe of 500,000 francs to prevent him for exposing tax evasion activities of wealthy businessmen and politicians.
The more I rose professionally at Julius Baer, the more I became involved in illegal activities that were required of me, he said.
The prosecutor claimed, among other things, that Elmer sent threatening faxes to Julius Baer employees; created a hoax bomb alert at the bank; and even threatened to send data to Neo-Nazi and other anti-capitalist organizations
In addition it emerged that Elmer presented to be a member of a Mexican drug gang and sometimes went under the nickname “Robin Hood.”