New interview with Rudolf Elmer:
"My daughter and her generation should learn that it is possible to fight powerful enemies."
(c) Monica Martins / Basicregisters.
Already four years ago, when we made our first interview with Rudolf Elmer, it seemed incredible how what is commonly considered to be a developed, democratic, modern state, can go after an insider-turned-whistleblower pointing the finger at a system that whitewashes criminal money on a never seen before scale.
Whether the banking secrecy law truly serves the interests of the Swiss people remains doubtful, but it is certain that it allows war-lords and other high-level criminals, were they corrupt politicians or multinational corporations' executives, to start and prosper in shady deals that break havoc around the world.
In the late nineties an international scandal broke-out over the way Swiss banks handled the accounts of holocaust victims, and the Swiss government did everything to protect the banks. But they ultimately failed.
The stakes of swiss banking secrecy are just as high if not higher, which begs the question of why people such as Rudolf Elmer, but also Hervé Falciani, Antoine Deltour and others, do not receive the support they deserve in order to fight banking secrecy jurisdictions with equal powers and at least through fair trials.
Banking secrecy whistleblowers have so little support that Switzerland felt comfortable enough to recently (i.e. July 1st 2015) strengthen their punishment.
In the present interview Rudolf Elmer gets more into the details of his cases, naming names and citing precise facts (such as being forced to attend horrendous trials despite medical certificates from several doctors advising against it) showing how his basic human rights have been and are still being repeatedly violated.
Multiple documental evidence is also available below showing that he was an employee of the Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd, Cayman Islands, and consequently the Swiss banking secrecy law shouldn't apply to him. A fact the Zurich justice system is still stubbornly feigning to ignore.
You can also read his guest blog piece on the Tax Justice Network's website for further details on the case.
You can support Rudolf Elmer's fight through his website.
||– interview by Mehdi, published on 20-07-2015
- First of all, after your health issues earlier this year, can you tell us how you feel right now ?
I am doing much better and my health is getting better every day. I might need another five months at least to get better the doctors told me ; on the other hand my fighting spirit is back again knowing that I am a witness of massive abuse and crimes in our civil society. As a matter of fact I am even mentally stronger to cope with the situation because I do have powerful support which even a corrupt state is not able to fight in the long run.
- Have you been forced to attend that difficult trial (that some would call a show trial) despite your health issues ?
Yes, I was forced to attend the trial due to the fact that judge Dr. Sebastian Aeppli let me know that if I do not appear he would send the Police to fetch me for the trial. On the other hand there were five medical doctors who stated in writing that I was not fit to attend the trial but the judges did not care because the psychological expert of the Court, Dr. Med. B. Yasmin, stated that I was definitely fit for the trial which was not true. Eventually I had a breakdown in the hospital, two days before the trial and needed emergency treatment in a specialized hospital ; a second breakdown in Court on December 10th, 2014 ; and a third one on January 10th, 2015. The last two were recorded in the minutes of the Court, however, the judges did not care about my health at all at any moment! Actually, they went on with the psychological terror which started eight months ago. I had to review 7,5 million data files which had been confiscated in the Police Office within four months in order to justify my whistleblowing. It was an impossible task which is the main reason why my doctors decided already on Oct 4th, 2014 that I was not fit to work at all. I was on sick leave and deemed by the doctors 100 % unable to work. Obviously, I was since September 2014 on strong medication. That all did not matter because it was important to perform the legal crucification of my person in order to scare all other Swiss bankers into not telling the truth about Swiss Banking!
- Can you explain what these 7.5 million data files are and where they come from ?
The 7,5 million data files represent all the files confiscated in the raid of my house on January 19th, 2011. My desktop and laptop but also the computers of my 11-year old daughter and my wife were confiscated and all the data including emails and even software programs were stored in one large hard disk. Last year I was allowed to view the data using a special sort program in the office of the police of the state of Zurich. The time frame I have been given to view the data was four months. Basically, it meant I had to review 62 500 files a day in the police office in order to justify my actions with evidence data from the year 1994 to 2002. Obviously, this was an impossible task and it made me sick, and eventually I needed close to three months of treatment in a hospital. I was worn out and close to being psychological broken.
While criminals are entitled to basic medical rights, whistleblowers in Switzerland are forced to attend several horrendous trials regardless of the fact that several doctors advised against it.
- You said the Swiss judges started psychological terror eight months ago : how did it start and why at that precise time ?
It was judge Dr. Sebastian Aeppli who decided that the court trial will be scheduled for December 10th, 2014. The decision was taken in June 2014 at a point when I did not know how much data I had to review in order to justify my actions as a whistleblower. Even though the matter was addressed it was ignored and the very same happened to my request to have Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg questioned in respect of WikiLeaks' publications on Julius Baer in 2008. Ignoring and turning down key witnesses and evidence provided by the accused person makes it easy for the judge because whatever the prosecutor Dr. Peter C. Giger came up with could be considered as the truth and taken as evidence and even as proven facts. There was consequently no-one and nothing to challenge the statements the prosecutor makes and the evidence he provided. This was simply a way to manipulate a court decision which obviously happened in my case. This is now the forth time it happened in my case but it will not be taken up by the Swiss media. The crucification of my person is wanted not only by the bank, the judges but also by the Swiss media which are kind of depending on the financial industry (advertising etc...).
- Talking about media, you have sued a newspaper and a journalist last year for libel. Can you remind us the details of this case ?
As a matter of fact I have sued the Swiss newspaper Weltwoche and its journalists Alex Bauer and the well-known head journalist and owner of the Weltwoche Roger Köppel who will run for Swiss Parliament in October 2015. Weltwoche called me a thief, a banker who is out for revenge, a blackmailer ; said that money and revenge were my motives, that I made threats to kill them etc. and finally Weltwoche got a court trial which I lost in the Cayman Islands. Weltwoche did not mention the presumption of innocence in its three articles mentioning me because both court trials are still in the appeal phase with the Higher Court of Zurich and therefore there is no final verdict.
Secondly, the case with Leo Müller, Bilanz, is now at the Federal Court of Switzerland since five months already in order to come up with a ruling regarding:
- If Leo Müller violated Swiss law because he spoiled my reputation in January 2010 when even no indictment existed,
- If the two judges Th. M. Meyer and Dr. U. Gloor of the Lower Court of Zurich because they intentionally delayed the entire case so that the court trial against Leo Müller was set in the period of limitation by 11 days.
"Tax Heavens" is a fiction book based on Rudolf Elmer's real life story.
- What are the other legal cases in which you are involved right now ?
Overall there are five legal cases I am dealing with at the moment. These four:
- Prosecutor Alexandra Bergmann: violation of Swiss Bank Secrecy handing over information to Swiss Tax Authorities and threats which started on September 27th, 2005 and is right now in the appeal phase with the High Court of Zurich.
- Prosecutor Dr. Peter C. Giger: violation of Swiss Bank Secrecy because I published data with WikiLeaks 2008. This case started January 19th, 2011 and is now also in the appeal phase at the High Court of Zurich.
- The two court trials mentioned above against Weltwoche and Bilanz.
The fifth is the most interesting one. I filed a complaint against a member of Bank Julius Baer & Co. AG, Zürich. The Bank in Zürich as well as the Bank in Cayman confirmed that Rudolf Elmer that the only employer of Rudolf Elmer was Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd, Cayman (JBBT-GCM) during the period ranging from 1994 to 2003 in the Cayman Islands. Being an employee of a foreign subsidiary of the Julius Baer Group, Swiss bank secrecy cannot be applied. In other words only a person according to the Swiss Banking Secrecy Law, in Art. 47, who is employed by a Swiss Bank in Switzerland can be under Swiss Law. The Law states:
“Whoever divulges a secret entrusted to him or of which he has become aware in his capacity as officer, employee, mandatory, liquidator or commissioner of a bank, as representative of the Banking Commission, officer or employee of a recognized auditing Company and whoever tries to induce others to violate professional secrecy, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three years or by a fine of not more than SFr. 250,000.00.”
The following documents prove that I was employed with Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd, Cayman Islands:
- Agreement with Baer Holding AG as of February 15th, 1994 where it is stated I am under a local contract in the Cayman Island,
- Assignment as Chief Operating Officer as of September 1st, 1999 which is the employment contract with Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd, Cayman,
- Complaint turned down by the Prosecution Office where it is stated that Rudolf Elmer was not employed with a Swiss Company,
- Application for the renewal of my work permit at the Immigration Board of the Cayman Islands,
- Email of the Head Lawyer of JB Holding Christoph Hiestand stating Rudolf Elmer is employed by Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd, Caymans.
There is further evidence showing that I was an employee of the Cayman Company such as salary, bonus and insurance payments which all were run through Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd. Cayman Islands.
Finally, the fact that the data published is not from Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd. Cayman Islands. It is a fact that the data is from a subsidiary of the former company which is a fiduciary company called Julius Baer and Trust Company Ltd. Cayman Islands. Fiduciary companies are neither under Swiss or under Cayman Law nor protected by a bank secrecy law.
Anyhow, I stated that I returned back to Switzerland five years ago in order to take the “Swiss bull” by its horns!
Rudolf Elmer's "Bankenterror" (in German) describes how tax havens work.
- Do you mean that the main case against you – the one about the alleged violation of swiss banking secrecy – has been dragging on for ten years and counting whereas you have several pieces of evidence showing you were not under swiss jurisdiction to begin with ? Why isn't this case closed ?
There are now two cases about alleged violation of swiss banking secrecy. The first one has been dragging on for ten years and the second one for 4 ½ years. Both cases are still in the appeal phase with the High Court of Zurich. At the appeal trial on November 17th, 2011 the judges of the High Court stated that they do not know what sort of banking data was involved in this trial. As a matter of fact neither the Prosecution Office nor judge Dr. Sebastian Aeppli of the Lower Court presented any evidence of data, for instance a swiss bank account. Instead of returning the entire case to the Lower Court, the judges of the High Court decided to make another investigation under their own supervision. The results of this investigation are 20 binders of new evidence and on top of it the entire indictment had to be changed in a material way in my view. It is now a fact that the appeal court trial at the High Court will be based on a revised indictment and an investigation managed by the judges of the High Court. Obviously, the judges of the High Court are not anymore independent because they lead the investigation but this is accepted in Zurich's courts. The penalty prosecutor Alexandra Bergmann requested 12 months imprisonment on probation. In the second case prosecutor Dr. Peter C. Giger requested 3 ½ years imprisonment and a ban from the profession of banker for life. Even the very same judge Dr. Sebastian Aeppli of the Lower Court found this request ridiculous and decided that I have to pay a fine of CHF 45 000 in the court trial of January 12th, 2015. It is pretty obvious that Zurich's courts want to crucify me one way or the other. The main reason is that whistleblowers in the financial sector of Switzerland are an extreme threat to a system which simply protects the golden calf of swiss banking secrecy. Secondly, a message has to go out into the world that swiss banking secrecy can even be applied extra-territorially and in an imperialistic way in the case of whistleblower Rudolf Elmer. This is good news for all the tax evaders, money launderers etc. Switzerland is still a safe place for your funds!
Five years ago, Rudolf Elmer took the incredibly courageous decision to fight the Swiss banking secrecy lobby from the inside. An obviously costly decision. Design by Monica Martins / Basicregisters.
- Regarding your return to Switzerland five years ago, it was certainly a difficult decision as it equated fighting a powerful enemy with state powers at its disposition on its own field and with its own rules. What was the main reason behind that decision ?
There were several important reasons behind my return to Switzerland. One key reason was to spend the last few months with my mother and my father in law who died soon after the family returned to Switzerland. Secondly, I am convinced that I am not a criminal and that needs to be made clear in the swiss society, which was close to impossible to do it from Mauritius. I love Switzerland and its people and therefore I wanted and I still want to open the eyes of the man in the street. They have the right to know that the Omertà in the swiss banking world and in the courts of Switzerland still exists and that we do have criminal bankers who do not care about justice and more importantly about the reputation of Switzerland. It became clear to me that the real culprits sit at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich and not in the Offshore Centers. The latter are only the facilitators of crime. To fight the culprits you have to go into the “cave of the bear”, only then you will be able to show the systemic corruption in Switzerland! And last, my daughter and her generation should learn that it is possible to fight powerful enemies such as criminal swiss bankers and even the Leviathan of Switzerland.
- Do you have political support in Switzerland, in the EU ? From whom ?
I do have political support from the “Alternative Liste” in Switzerland. I was one of their candidates for the Parliament of the State of Zurich in the election of April 2015. I did not make it because it is a small party, however, the party increased its support by about 140 %. In the EU there is the support of the GUE/NGL. They invited me to speak at a conference at the European Parliament a month ago. I talked about whistleblowing and the offshore business, how it works and what sort of negative effects it causes in our society because, in Europe only, about 1 Trillion euros are lost each year as a result of tax avoidance and tax evasion. Whistleblowers are key to solving this problem because they bring abusive practices to light.
- How is the official stance on tax evasion whistleblowers such as yourself evolving in Switzerland ? Have international pressures from the US and some EU countries brought a positive change in that area ?
To be honest Switzerland has been trying to implement a whistleblower protection legislation since 2003 and that without any success due to the fact that the Swiss Parliament did not approve it. The Swiss Parliament does not walk its talk! Even today the new proposal - which was necessary because of international pressures - is so complex and irritating that it is a law which will not protect whistleblowing at all. What is really happening is that whistleblowing is becoming a bigger crime in Switzerland due to the fact that as of July 1st, 2015 a new law gets into force which would allow to put a whistleblower for up to five years in prison instead of three earlier. It is pretty clear the Financial Industry pushed this law!
- We have noticed that judge Dr. Sebastian Aeppli was the head judge in 2011 and in the same case in 2014 he was again the head judge. This is rather confusing because judge Aeppli could not be unbiased in the second trial of December 10th, 2014 and from an ethical point of view he should have turned down being the Head Judge in the same case for the very same crime in the trial of December 10th, 2014. Is this common in Switzerland?
Yes, it is very common. In both of cases the head judges are Dr. Sebastian Aeppli in the Lower Court, and judge P. Marti in the Higher Court. It is even worse, the prosecutor Peter C. Giger who handles the case against me, is also responsible for my complaint against Bank Julius Baer & Co. AG, Zürich and its officials. In simple terms, prosecutor Peter C. Giger needs to challenge his own work because there are plenty of short-comings such as my employment status from 1994 to 2003. Therefore, I do not expect a fair trial and that judges andthe prosecutors are biased that is a fact. I believe that only the European Court of Human Rights will make a difference when it has to deal with the cases.
- What do you think of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights effort toward a binding legal instrument (open to non-member states) for the protection of whistleblowers ? How would that help whistleblowers worldwide ?
I definitely will support a binding legal instrument for the protection of whistleblowers. It would help if as proposed that whistleblowers have to opportunity to be granted asylum because whistleblowers are threatened by retaliation in their home countries. My family and I are a striking example and I only violated Cayman Law but Swiss prosecution is after me,and my wife and my child since 2005. Therefore, whistleblowers who disclose abusive practices of national or even global matters such as Snowden etc. must be protected by a global legislation.
- Rudolf Elmer's books are available in paper and electronic format.
- Rudolf Elmer's website.