Jan 192011
 
 January 19, 2011  Breaches, Court

Frank Jordans of Associated Press reports:

A Swiss banker who claims to have handed WikiLeaks details of rich tax evaders has been found guilty of coercion and breaking Switzerland’s strict banking secrecy laws.

A judge at Zurich’s Regional Court has sentenced Rudolf Elmer to a fine of over 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,000).

Elmer claimed at the one-day trial in Zurich’s banking capital Wednesday that he acted after being persecuted by his former employer Julius Baer.

He also claimed to have wanted to expose widespread tax evasion by rich businesspeople and politicians when he sent confidential banking files to tax authorities, media and later WikiLeaks.

Judge Sebastian Aeppli rejected prosecution demands to give Elmer an eight-month prison sentence.

Read the entire news report Toronto Star and then think about whether you agree that there should have been no jail time.

If you think that Elmer was a whistleblower who should not be jailed, then what about allegations that he attempted to extort his former employer? And if you were one of the tax evaders whose data he leaked, would you still think he deserves whistleblower protectiong?

If you think that leaking confidential/private data is a Bad Thing and that leakers need to be punished, then does it make a difference in your thinking if the data aren’t accurate? Is it enough if the person believes that they are leaking sensitive info?

If you were the judge, what would you have done?

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