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Rudolf Elmer, John Christensen, Jack Blum (and a delayed Wikileaks spokesperson) – Frontlineclub press conference on January 17th 2011

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[wn030] If there is a basic need for the public in order to compare a view presented by mass media with their (the people’s) own focus and angle, in order to escape their expected role ase pure news consumers, then this basic need is access to original data. In fact, this is what once was most interesting about the platform Wikileaks. But this need of access does not apply only to secret or classified documents, it applies the same to public events that can easily be reported in a way typical for most media covering: focus on persons that news agencies develop a high interest in with exterme  shortening if not misleading of the original message.

The media at the press conference in the London Frontlineclub seem to have been mostly busy with waiting plus afterwards shooting of a next series of Wikileaks spokesperson photographs, it seems the message of this press conference has reached only few of them. The other half of present media had an understandable focus on Elmer’s court case, a topic that heated up 2 days later (see Elmer-related links below).

So, what could be more crucial for an event than to care for being accessible for the public not only via mass media agendas. The Frontlineclub in London showed awereness of this need. The press conference on January 17th was streamed life, the recorded streams are available for everybody interested via the Fontlineclub webpage as well as on other pages re-publishing the stream.

Speaking at the Frontlineclub on 17.1.2011 were:

Jack Blum, described as:  “one of the United States’ leading white-collar defense attorneys specialising in money laundering. He works for Baker Hostetler, a Washington, D.C. law firm. He focuses his practice in the areas of bank and securities firm compliance, congressional investigations, international financial crime, money laundering and offshore tax evasion.” (source)

Jack Blum at Frontlineclub press conference

John Christensen from the Tax Justice Network, described as “a development economist and former economic adviser to the UK and Jersey governments.  John has researched tax havens and tax policy for many years. He has also played a leading role in campaigning for tighter regulation and control of tax havens and offshore finance centres. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and is based at the New Economics Foundation, London. His work for the Tax Justice Network is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.” (source)

John Christensen (Tax Justice Network) at the Frontlineclub

and Rudolf Elmer himself (in case you missed it, you’ll find published information about Elmer in media like: 20min.ch about the court case on Jan 19th, bazonline.ch, zeit.de, tagesanzeiger.ch about Elmer’s detention on the evening of Jan 19th, the news agency Reuters, BBC, gulli.com on Jan 21st “Elmer bis Montag in Gewahrsam” – as well as in other media in case you care to google a bit).

Rudolf Elmer, Frontlineclub press conference

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(plus the delayed Wikileaks spokesperson, covered by enough media so ignored on this page here)

In case you haven’t taken your chance yet to take a look at the event yourself other than the look a present journalist has taken, here are some quotes we feel worth underlining, to whet your appetite:

4:30ff. “we are here to discuss mr Elmer’s case, the issues it raises and its relations with wikileaks and vice versa”

Frontlineclub welcomes jack blum from wasington DC

5:14ff. Jack Blum:
“what we’re here to talk about is a system of offshore, which is really designed to prevent law enforcement and goverments from getting information in timely fashion to pursue all forms of illicit money:”

6:29
“Why do we allow some countries to make a living by hiding the tax money that has not been paid

by hiding money that has been stolen

by hiding money that has been derived from various several kinds of crimes?”

Rudolf Elmer
9:55
“Working in the Cayman islands i realised that something goes wrong
I tried to approach tax authorities during my fight
I want to let the society know how the system works because it’s damaging our society”

John Christensen (Tax Justice Network) (18:10ff)
“the jokes amongs tax lawyers goes: those who know don’t talk and those who talk don’t know.
In other words: people working inside the system earning a great deal of money have every reason for not talking about what they’re doing. it takes a great man or women to start to talk about what they’re doing”

19:40ff
tax evasion, tax avoidance – difference not clear but both working against public interests
the public don’t know about it,
we don’t know the exact scale

20:10ff
Estimates: at least 5 trillion us dollars is held offshore –
Our own estimate is at least 11,5 trillion US-dollars is held offshore, untaxed, tax evading

A more reasonable estimate:  James Henry (US economist) – puts the amount of volume of private wealth held offshore now at close to 20. 20 trillion us-dollars tax evading money.

21:00ff
If you want to understand why there’s so much unrest… why we apparently can’t afford to keep our public services in the West, you might want to start to ask questions about what’s happened to the wealth, where does it sit – well, it sits largely offshore.

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Some of Elmers answers to journalists’ questions made their way to the press. In case you want to find the quoted sentences, here they are:
Elmer
38:10ff
“If you can’t destroy the evidence, beat the witness”
39:10ff
i wrote a letter to peer steinbrück, no response

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(interested and looking for the link to the press conference? scroll up again, it’s in the 3rd paragraph.)

http://wp.me/psdI6-YW

Written by wn030

January 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm

2 Responses

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  1. updates related to publishing of the bank data. the wikileaks spokesperson reminded the journalists that wl is overloaded (wl does actually not accept new documents, for a longer time now) and that there are some other things wl is busy with now, so the reply is it will quite surely take some time until the data can be published (aside of the need to let them check in order to avoid publishing of uncorrect data). and it will be, of course, published the expected old way – using exclusive contracts.

    in the meantime, an indian news broadcast (“Headlines Today”) claims to have access to data from the handed CDs, too. (the Indian “WIKIBOMB“. there are more parts of this broadcast online, follow the feature “related” there to view the next parts) – this, actually, claimed since Jan 18th 2011: “…Over the last several months, Headlines Today has been in constant touch with former Julius Baer employee, Rudolf Elmer. The data has been shared by Rudolf Elmer himself with Headlines Today. …”source
    On Jan 20th, however, Headlines Today is getting more specific about the kind of data Elmer shared with the broadcast, mentioning two CDs with Indian accounts (probably a cut off from the entire sample): “… Headlines Today shared the CDs received from former top official of private Swiss bank Julius Baer, Rudolph Elmer, with the ED. The whistleblower, who was arrested in Zurich on Wednesday on charge of sharing the secret bank documents with WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange, had sometime ago given Headlines Today two CDs that contained the details of accounts held by Indian nationals in Swiss banks.”source
    wn030: although – absolutely not clear if just a cut-off. it may be as well the entire CDs with – among others – also indian tax evaders’ data. they don’t actually say, it’s just a part of the data, even on 20th not.

    if for any reason you cannot open the abovelinked pages of India Today re. “Headlines Today” (we can access the pages, see no difference, no missing content), but anyway, if you have problems to open them: there is a grabbed version of these pages existing, please feel free to click here to view them.

    update: see also http://www.deccanherald.com/content/130496/indian-tv-channel-says-has.html (jan 19th) – “Even as Wikileaks has threatened to reveal the names of 2,000 Swiss bank account holders, an Indian television channel on Wednesday claimed it has received ”explosive details” from a banker-turned-whistleblower …. – The channel said there were three companies with name — Annapurna Convertible Ltd (A/C number: 420331), Annapurna Leverage Ltd (A/C number:4270390) and Annapurna Convertible USD (A/C number: 431916) — with accounts opened in the New York branch of Julius Baer.” (still not clear: did the channel receive the exactly same whole CD copy?)

    teeater

    January 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  2. updates regarding elmer’s new court case

    press release http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2Fh42PjN – via AP reporter, late evening of jan 21st 2011 (“The prosecution III (Staatsanwaltschaft III) of the Swiss canton of Zurich today asked the court for remand for Rudolf Elmer. …”)

    “Das Gesetz kann man kaufen”: http://bazonline.ch/schweiz/standard/Elmer-und-die-Uiguren-Bank-of-Switzerland/story/20502212

    22. Januar 2011 18:57; Akt: 22.01.2011 18:59 Print
    http://www.20min.ch/finance/news/story/21680864 – “U-Haft gegen Ex-Banker verhąngt”

    23.1. http://www.sonntagonline.ch/index.php?show=news&id=1445 – Wikileaks-Sprecher warnt die Schweiz – “… «Das ganze Land erwartet, dass die Namen jener, welche öffentliche Gelder geraubt und sie auf Schweizer Bankkonten angelegt haben, entlarvt werden», sagte BJP-Sprecher Ravi Shankar Prasad. Sogar der Oberste Gerichtshof (Indiens) schaltete sich ein. Er kritisierte, dass die Regierung die Namen jener nicht nennen wolle, welche an der «landesweiten Plünderung» im Wert von geschätzten 1,5 Billionen Dollar beteiligt seien. Am Donnerstag reagierte die Regierung unter Premierminister Manmohan Singh. Sie verpflichtete sich, nicht versteuertes Geld, das in ausländischen Banken gebunkert wird, zurück nach Indien zu schaffen. Ein Vertreter des Finanzministeriums sagte der Presseagentur IANS, die Regierung wolle die Steuerabkommen mit mehreren Ländern neu verhandeln – mit dem Ziel, Schwarzgeld zurückzuführen, das reiche Inder in Steueroasen deponiert hätten. Genannt wurde auch die Schweiz. Bundesbern wies jedoch Gelüste auf eine nochmalige Verhandlung des Doppelbesteuerungsabkommens mit Indien zurück. …” (wn030: von einer möglichen CD-Kopie in Indien hier noch kein Wort, schauen wir mal.)

    Reuters 23.1.: Wikileaks spokesperson attacks Switzerland for arresting Elmer – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110123/wr_nm/us_wikileaks_swiss_1

    http://www.gulli.com/news/banken-leak-assange-kritisiert-schweizer-beh-rden-2011-01-23 – Banken-Leak: Assange kritisiert Schweizer Behörden – Annika_Kremer am Sonntag, 23.01.2011 17:56 Uhr

    teeater

    January 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm


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