Rudolf Elmer, who handed over bank client data to WikiLeak's Julian Assange this week, was detained in Zurich late yesterday as prosecutors investigate possible breaches of Swiss banking secrecy laws.
Elmer, a former employee of Julius Baer Group Ltd. in the Cayman Islands, on Jan. 17 handed two compact discs with data on about 2,000 cross-border bank accounts to Assange. A Zurich court fined Elmer yesterday for breaking the country's client- secrecy laws and making a death threat against a bank employee in a case unrelated to WikiLeaks, according to BusinessWeek.
Julius Baer, which said it had taken note of the verdict against Elmer, has dismissed the Swiss-born banker's accusations as baseless.
The data from Elmer is the latest in a string of information leaks from the secretive world of Swiss banking, which has been forced into some concessions because of international pressure. Foreign nations seeking to fill budget deficits are becoming more aggressive in pursuing assets-often undeclared at home-held in offshore centres such as Switzerland.
The US clinched a major victory against Switzerland in extracting more than 4,000 sets of confidential data on wealthy Americans with accounts at UBS.
An additional 18,000 US taxpayers with secret accounts overseas voluntarily came forward to the Internal Revenue Service under a leniency deal the tax-collection agency offered in 2009, Financial News reports.