Rudolf Elmer spoke at the Occupy gathering in Zurich September 22, 2011. Although attended by 800, media generally ignored it. Please distribute it widely at Occupy gatherings and on your blogs/websites to spread the word about tax evasion.

The speech addresses:

  • how things work in secrecy jurisdictions (without getting too technical)
  • how the truth is silenced and the lobbying powers undermine democracy
  • how someone who comes up with the truth about tax evasion sees the banks, the media, and the judical system try to destroy their credibility
  • solutions to consider
  • the need for civil courage but also the mental will to continue and stick to one's beliefs even if you have to go to prison or run an initative for years (key issue for Occupy).

Translation from the original German by Walter Gehr (,

Save people, not banks!

Without SOCIAL COURAGE one cannot save people – hence, without social courage nothing will happen!
The people of Occupy Paradeplatz not only show social courage but also perseverance to foster political will to stop abuse by banks and multinational corporations as well as certain of the super rich – not only in Switzerland but all over the world.

Social courage and perseverance are needed to

  • take action against banks, multinational corporations and the super rich with secret offshore accounts
  • bring about justice and fairness
  • preserve society from financial-debt-chaos

Most want fair play in sports. Why do we allow those managers to ignore the concept of fair play in the financial world? For the sake of fairness and to save people, clear and competent knowledge is required to understand how abuse works in the financial world and how to fight it.

I am here to help understand and expose abuse. I consider myself a banking expert and know a lot about havens where banks can deceive and suppress evidence. Abuse in those "tax havens" constitutes a global problem. It has brought so much power and profits to banks – power over:

  • certain media
  • certain politicians and parliamentarians
  • the justice system

These are powerful institutions and positions which undermine democracy – a network of lobby groups set up to handle profitable deals or to better hide their rogue deals.
The power of the bank oligarchies must be returned to the people. Better, the people must take it back. This is abstract, I know. Ultimately it is about getting back power embodied in the complex financial system. In a democracy those who have little sense of social responsibility are not entitled to exercise power.

The means to get it back are simple:

  • comprehensive transparency
  • knowledge of the banking system
  • change through political action

Abuse is based on:

  • transfer of profit to offshore centers resulting in offshore cost (e.g. Switzerland) to reduce taxable benefits
  • secrecy
  • insufficient regulation (e.g. hedge funds)
  • weak oversight
  • weak prosecutorial authority
  • ability to create unlimited amounts of money

Much happens under the cover of SECRECY. Only bank insiders will be in a position to bring light into the darkness.
I worked in this business for more than 30 years as well as in eight havens set up for deception and suppressing evidence. My practical experience with the underground banking system has shown me the connection between the financial crisis and offshore banking.

If somebody like me dares to publicly disclose abuse as a WHISTLEBLOWER, then hell breaks out in the financial havens.

They will say “It’s bad manners to give away secrets“ and "for years, you benefited from it.“ Yes, this time was necessary to  be able to look behind the scenes, connect the dots and understand the global issue. Only afterward could I disclose, in the interest of the public, how banks, multinational corporations and certain super rich people abuse the state.

To pretend as top bank and company managers now do that they "did not know," were "innocent" acted lawfully etc. is cheap! All legal loopholes are used to hide abuses, e.g. behind Swiss bank secrecy or Cayman confidentiality law ably asssissted by tax lawyers, accountants, auditors and bankers.

The equation Swiss bank secrecy = privacy is wrong!
I am indeed in favor of protecting privacy, but only of the privacy of individuals. The right to privacy should not be used to carry out shady business dealings. I do not accept that anymore. You do not want that either!

Privacy has limits where

  • protection of a natural person ends
  • social responsibility starts

Many managers and big banks have lost their social conscience and hence their sense of responsibility vis-à-vis the state and democracy.

Since spotlighting this eight years ago, I have been defamed, portrayed as pathological, accused of crimes and put in prison twice totaling seven months. I have been pressured, isolated, threatened. The sole aim was to destroy my credibility and silence me. A witness protection program was never considered. Everything was staged, mainly because I had disclosed to tax authorities how tax defrauders, drug and arms dealers, mass murderers as well as insider trading works.

What must not be, cannot be!

Swiss judicial authorities, parts of the Swiss press and public TV, as well as parts of the capital friendly foreign press hushed up the abuse and prefered to vilify me! Why? Probably to divert attention from bank abuses and wrongdoings.

WIKILEAKS showed in 2008 what social responsibility means – to disclose abuses to the public and demand change without resorting to violence. The Occupy movement demands changes, too. The Occupy movement highlights how financial power can bring chaos to Europe using havens created for deceptive purposes and suppresion of evidence. I am resisting this and you should, too! I will not accept that the weakest are being put against the wall.

These were the same banks which had the arrogance to pretend that they were "too big to fail.“
I contend that these banks are

  • too big to rescue
  • too political to work
  • too complex to assess
  • too big to manage

In other words, "too big to be allowed to exist in the first place." Their business models – investment banking, hedge funds, offshore structures – have undermined democracy and put states in jeopardy. Politicians, governments and the people must strip the banks of their power. This means recognizing that since the beginning of the financial crisis, unbridled creation of money by tax haven underground banking systems brought about by deregulation in the 90s has led to many banks having to be saved by tax payers. The unlimited creation of money by banks constitutes a big part of their power.

Secondly, certain banks must again service real industrial production. They must be servants only, not leaders of the economy.

Certain Swiss media covering finance turned me into an ENFANT TERRIBLE and tried to portray me as a revengeful and violent psychopath. The same could happen to the Occupy movement. If this strategy succeeds, the page could be turned quickly and it would return to business as usual.

Business as usual is what banks are looking for. That must not happen, and this is why I spend my time uncovering abuse in the havens set up for deception and suppression of evidence. Unlike 99% of the population, banks, multinational corporations and certain super rich ruthlessly use tax havens for various reasons:

  • secrecy (for the owner, i.e. no transparency)
  • legal reasons (no investigations against the financial market place, underground bookkeeping)
  • tax reasons (e.g. circumvention of inheritance taxes)
  • regulatory reasons (insufficient regulation, the reasson that about 60% of all hedge funds worldwide are held in the Cayman Islands)
  • supervisory reasons (weak authorities in Jersey, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland)

Furthermore, if one takes a close look at the WITHHOLDING TAX agreements between Switzerland on one hand and Germany and England on the other, one will find loopholes larger than a barn door, for the Swiss and in particular for foreign tax defrauders!

Strangely, the Swiss Bankers Association and some politicians pretend that all loopholes have been closed, thanks to the withholding tax! What an illusion! How stupid! What a lie, I say! They portray this sale of indulgences as a fair deal while its aim is to ensure impunity for defrauders and their accomplices and to allow them to continue to act out of sight.

If one also thinks about the U.S. measures against Swiss banks and considers the amazing rewards for disclosing tax defrauders (Birkenfeld’s claim is estimated worth USD 560 million), the incentive program to uncover defrauders and criminal bankers, then America, and Germany, too, have created a "business model"  which in my view needs to be abolished quickly. On one hand, it creates long investigative procedures for the state, but also a lot of tax revenues. On the other hand, this destroys trust in society, in the state and in human beings. In this way, frustrated bankers, for instance, could turn into information gatherers and make money out of it. A new criminal business model is born which could lead to economic warfare!

Yes, many decisions need to be brought about, let’s tackle it!

Another way to further justice would be to protect whistleblowers. However, whistleblowers today are punished by judges under the pretext of Swiss bank or official secrecy. Although the traitor is appreciated, he nevertheless must be punished. Laws are bent, stretched, expanded and facts are ignored as in the Seldwyla case to protect the real criminals in the banks by the judicial system applying double standards.

Obviously, disclosing insider information about criminal dealings or to expose one of the large Swiss banks to criminal investigation must not be allowed. This would be detrimental to the financial marketplace. So the  financial marketplace becomes a state political objective along with protecting tax defrauders. Many bankers have enormous insider knowledge concerning abuses, but they are obliged to keep silent. When they speak, prosecutors' huge discretionary and arbitrary powers are used (in my case, the federal court blamed judicial authorities in Zurich for their arbitrariness). At this point, the capital-driven media come into the play. Prosecutors and the capital-driven media show whistleblowers who the boss is! Everything is lawful, of course, but not legitimate! The whistleblower is convicted, the bank protected.
What Occupy Paradeplatz means to me is new hope and confidence that the people want to take away the power of the banks and put the judicial system in its place so that criminal bankers are prosecuted. The Occupy movement requires global commitment and global action.

Occupy Paradeplatz should aim to show alternatives – for instance, plain money reform, the dual banking system, limitating bank proprietary trading and more responsibilities for auditors examinating banks and multinational corporations. However, the latter together with their tax advisory units are part of the system and hugely benefit from it. I therefore dare to doubt that they are independent. Why are these audit firms located in tax havens, and why did they not detect the UBS risk management problems?

Finally, I would like to put on record that the issue here is justice and stopping abuse – NOT the whistleblower, Elmer, although my case is a striking example of how the system reacts.  

Therefore: Save the people and not the banks!

Thank you very much!


Rudolf Elmer's book is available in paper and electronic format.
Rudolf Elmer's website

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