Monday, January 17, 2011

TJN appearing with Elmer, Assange, in London

TJN's director John Christensen will be appearing with Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer and his lawyer Jack Blum (who is a TJN Senior Adviser) - and, we think, Julian Assange of Wikileaks in London today. It's a major case, and you can read details in The Guardian here.

The Swiss case against Elmer seems to be a blatant attempt to bully Elmer and intimidate other would-be whistleblowers. They seem determined to keep secrecy in place.

We see Elmer is a complicated hero. There's been some very nasty stuff about him in the Swiss press, and he's not denying that he's made some mistakes. But our position is that we strongly support those who strive to show the evils and perils of offshore finance.

His case raises some important issues. First, he's being prosecuted in Switzerland for breaking Swiss bank secrecy, while in the Cayman Islands. As Blum notes:
"Elmer is being tried for violating Swiss banking secrecy law even though the data is from the Cayman Islands. This is bold extraterritorial nonsense. Swiss secrecy law should apply to Swiss banks in Switzerland, not a Swiss subsidiary in the Cayman Islands."
Second, as we have long argued, Swiss secrecy laws should be abandoned. They are, apart from a few pinpricks of light which we outline in some detail here, still very firmly in place. As the Elmer case shows, quite conclusively.

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