Swiss banker linked to Wikileaks is found guilty

Reporters surround former Swiss private banker Rudolf Elmer at the regional court in Zurich (19 Jan 2011) Rudolf Elmer was fined but escaped a prison sentence

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A former Swiss banker who said he gave Wikileaks details of rich tax evaders has been found guilty of breaching Switzerland's strict bank secrecy laws.

A judge in Zurich did so even though the leaked documents referred to accounts in the Cayman Islands.

Judge Sebastian Aeppli handed Rudolf Elmer, 55, a suspended fine of more than 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,250; £4,000).

But he rejected prosecution demands to give Elmer an eight-month prison sentence.

Elmer also said that he had handed confidential Julius Baer banking files to tax authorities, and later the Wikileaks website run by Julian Assange, because he had wanted to expose tax evasion by businessmen and politicians.

Mr Assange said he will publish that information within weeks, once it has been checked.

Speaking minutes before he returned to court to hear the verdict, Elmer told reporters: "I made big mistakes, I admit that... I wouldn't say it was revenge [against Baer], but I defended myself. That's human nature."

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