Swiss court reopens case of banking whistleblower Rudolph Elmer

A federal court in Switzerland reopened a complaint filed by Rudolf Elmer, the Julius Baer banker and whistleblower.  The ruling orders Zurich officials to more thoroughly investigate Elmer’s claims of employer intimidation, i.e., reprisal.

In 2009, Zurich justice officials had thrown out Elmer’s complaint, in which he claimed Julius Bär employees hired private detectives to intimidate his family after he handed over bank data to tax authorities and the website WikiLeaks. (World Radio Switzerland, Mar. 25, 2011)


Elmer is currently in policy custody.

Elmer was charged with breaching bank secrecy laws for handing over confidential CDs that allegedly contained the banking data of about 2,000 Julius Baer clients to Wikileaks boss Julian Assange on 19 January. Elmer claimed this was an effort to expose tax evasion by high net worth individuals. (PBI Editorial, Feb. 22, 2011)

Elmer says he discovered evidence that Julius Baer, an investment banking firm, was helping customers evade taxes, an allegation the bank denies. When Elmer confronted his bosses about it, “he was sacked and targeted by the Swiss authorities,” and  jailed in 2005 for 30 days “on suspicion of violating Swiss banking secrecy.” (CNN, Jan. 17, 2011) reports that Elmer has created his own website (, where he has posted information he had previously released to Wikileaks.

The Elmer case resembles other whistleblower cases across the globe where powerful business interests and government authorities appear to work in concert to punish insiders who report wrongdoing.  In the United States, the convergence of business and government power is sometimes referred to as a “corporatocracy.”