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Ex-Swiss Banker Hands Account Files To WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (left) receives a CD containing data on offshore bank account holders from former Swiss private banker Rudolf Elmer in London.
A former Swiss banker has handed over documents to whistle-blower site WikiLeaks that he says prove attempts by wealthy businesspeople and lawmakers to evade tax payments.

Rudolf Elmer, a former employee of Swiss-based Bank Julius Baer, said the account holders included "high-net-worth" celebrities, business leaders, and lawmakers from the United States, Britain, and Asia.

"I want to let society know what I do know and how this system works, because it is damaging our society in a way that money is moved back, away, for instance, from financial institutions, multinational conglomerates, high-net-worth individuals -- the money is hiding in offshore centers or secrecy jurisdictions."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared alongside Elmer in London to collect the files, and praised the ex-banker's attempts to expose alleged shady practices in the financial industry.

Assange said that, with his organization focused on the publication of its cache of about 250,000 diplomatic cables, it could be several weeks before Elmer's files are reviewed and posted on the WikiLeaks website.

compiled from agency reports