Cayman whistleblower to face offshore conference

| 27/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman business news(CNS): Former offshore private banker, and more recent whistleblower Rudolf Elmer has said he will ‘tell-all’ about his experiences at Bank Julius Baer and subsequent whistle-blowing in an appearance at this year’s OffshoreAlert conference in May. Organisers of the conference said that Elmer has agreed to talk openly and frankly about what he believes is the bank’s complicity in global tax evasion by its clients and go into the reasons that made him offer client-records to the world’s tax authorities.

 "Whistle-blowing should not be a money-making business but, today, it has to be because a whistleblower will not find another reasonable job after having told the truth to society," Elmer told OffshoreAlert. "Society turns the whistleblower into an outlaw and leaves him or her with little choice in terms of providing for himself or herself financially."

 For 16 years, Elmer worked for Bank Julius Baer, first in Switzerland, where he was a Senior Auditor from 1987 to 1994, and then in the Cayman Islands, where he was the group’s local Chief Operating Officer from 1994 to 2003. Now living in his native Switzerland, Elmer describes offshore tax evasion as "the biggest theft among societies and neighbour states in this world".

 He added: "If I had not worked in eight well-known Offshore Financial Centers and finally in Africa, I would not have discovered the biggest predatory theft in history of humanity and its catastrophic consequences for the poorest people of the earth. 

"The people of this world demand fair play in sport, why do they not demand this also from the financial institutions and multi-national conglomerates which maintain dubious companies in OFCs simply to evade or avoid paying their fair share of taxes in their homeland?"

 Elmer denies that he is anti-offshore and says that OFCs can have a prosperous future but only if they change their business model, concentrating more on "excellence in professional performance" and less on "secrecy".

 "As more and more practitioners are realizing, bank secrecy belongs in the past," he said. "Banks have to decide where privacy ends and social responsibility starts." Offering products and services that appeal to those with a lack of ethics or morals was not the way forward for OFCs, he said.

 Whistleblowing is one of the main themes of the 8th Annual OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference, which will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Florida on May 2-4, 2010. Apart from Elmer, Allen Stanford-whistleblower Charles Rawl will also be speaking, as will Washington, DC-based attorney Jack Blum, who represents Elmer and LGT Bank-whistleblower Heinrich Kieber, and Eric Havian, an attorney with California-based law firm Phillips & Cohen, which specializes in whistleblower cases.

Full details about theconference can be found at

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If you work in a professional capacity anywhere in the world in the area of wealth management, trust administration, or any of the other myriad of finance related professions….what ever you do, where ever you are based in the world, you will have one eye on the tax consequences of what you propose to your clients. You will always be looking to avoid incuring unnecessary taxation on your clients activities. It would be considered professionally negligent if you did not.

    Why then is it acceptable to have tax planning to mitigate your tax liability undertaken onshore, but somehow morally reprehensible whenthis is done offshore? The effects are the same – less tax paid into the system.

    Yet if this is done offshore it is considered wrong and somehow we are draining the tax coffers of the onshore nations which have to raise the tax burden on the rest. Yet there are armies of Accountants, Lawyers and Bankers onshore who do exactly that every day. Their planning also reduces the amount paid in tax. And probabily considerably more so that what is done offshore.

    Frankly I really don’t know what Mr. Elmer has to say is anything new….but he has to make a living somehow considering he can’t work in the wealth management industry any more.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I made the comment that XXXXXXX

    CNS: Your comment was not an opinion but made as a statement of fact about a named person, since you are anonymous and provide no evidence to your claims, how are we to know that it is true and you are not making it up? Imagine how this forum would go if we allowed that.

  3. anonymous says:

    Were Julius Baer the rogue banker’s paradise he paints, why then did this self-ordaned "whistleblower" work there complicitly for three years (from 1999-2002), only to reach enlightenment after being fired? 

    It’s XXXX like a guy complaining about how ugly his fiance was years after being dumped.  You dated her pal, so either she wasn’t that ugly, or you were okay with it.  It certianly doesn’t mean that our girlfriends (or all women) share any similarity to your relationship, or the things you did together.

    Consequently I have a similar level of interest in hearing this guy speak, which is to say, zero.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should we? Its their business, we need to focus on our own economy, we have no responsibility to protect the tax regimes in other countries, they sure as heck dont worry about ours!


  4. Anonymous says:

    Rudolf Elmer is a national Hero for telling the truth.

    Sometimes the truth hurts, hurt badly but, never the less, the truth.

    Cayman needs to face the truth about the the lack of transparacy and the impact it has on the tax payers of other nations.

    More people like Mr Elmer needs to step forward and not play the game of see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil



  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, it seems the Offshore Alert conference is becoming less professional and more tabloid in it’s desire for sensationalist speakers.

    To my mind Mr. Elmer has broken the trust his employers place in him. It is no different from a cashier at Fosters stealing from the till. Once you have proven yourself not trustworthy, you will have a very hard time working again. He seems to have discovered by breaking that trust, you have little left and your professional training is useless.

    Mr. Elmer is a professional accountant by trade, but since breaking his trust, I suspect he is struggling to work as an accountant even within Switzerland. Imagine working on an audit of a local bank. Would you want him working on your accounts, in the knowledge he might take it on himself to give away those details to anyone he wants to?

    Sadly he has little left but to speak about his experiences offshore. What a shame Cayman cannot have him arrested for breaking the Confidentiality Laws here.

  6. John Fleming says:

    Where has honour and loyaty to clients and empoloyer gone to? Has this man thought that if his action was taken to th extreme and the world’s leaders were able to close down the offshore financial centres ther would be many many families including their dependents who would all be out of work and probably destitute or do they not matter as he considers them as desposable for what he sees as the great good of the world? 

  7. Now we see says:

    We heard in recent weeks David Marchant tell us what a big friend of Cayman.  Now we learn he is giving a podium to this embittered sideshow.  How much is this man being paid to speak?

    • John Evans says:

      The conference only runs 2-4 May but it would cost me $1495 plus the airfare to attend (about the same as a two-week all inclusive vacation in Cuba with flights from the UK right now), which suggest the speakers are being pretty well paid.

      If the organisers were serious about exposing offshore crime shouldn’t attendance be free and the services of those giving the presentations be offered gratis as a public service?

      • If you want to go on a two-week vacation to Cuba, go ahead. If you want to attend our conference, do that too. What on earth the two have to do with each other is beyond me. One is pleasure, one is business.

        If you do not know what our expenses are, it is remarkably unintelligent to cite the current attendance fee of $1,495 for non OffshoreAlert subscribers and non-government employees as evidence that we must be paying speakers "pretty well". What a wild leap of logic.

        The cost of organizing and promoting a conference like ours is significant and the risks are substantial. For the record, we typically do not pay speakers and Rudolf Elmer is not being paid to speak.

        Re. "If the organisers were serious about exposing offshore crime shouldn’t attendance be free and the services of those giving the presentations be offered gratis as a public service?"

        Again, this is a remarkably unintelligent comment. Apart from an erroneous assumption that our speakers are paid to speak, it is ridiculous to suggest that charging for our products and services is a sign that we are ‘not serious’ about exposing crime.

        If we did not charge for our conference, we would lose a substantial amount of money each time it was held and then we would inevitably go bust, after which we would be in no position to expose anything.

    • Rudolf Elmer is not being paid a fee to speak.

    • Anonymous says:

      David Marchant has his own agenda – that was clear the way he went on the attack against Tony Travers


  8. Anonymous says:

    And you thought the Swiss understood confidentiality…

  9. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     Just my opinion but this seems to be a good example of a "rogue" far to one side…….fine to hear his side ….but it should be balanced with the middle and the far other side so we can make up our own minds…….

    • The OffshoreAlert conference is very balanced, as our many regular Cayman attendees can attest to. Mr. Elmer will be expected to, and has no objections to, being asked questions, including from the audience.

      His session will be in the form of an interview, rather than a presentation.

      His reasons for becoming a whistleblower will be examined in their entirety.

      Given his background and experiences, his session should be fascinating and I think that intelligent, sophisticated practitioners in Cayman’s offshore business sector, of whom there are many, will be interested in hearing what Mr. Elmer has to say, even if they disagree with him. They will have the opportunity to ask him any questions they want, provided they are relevant.

      In my experience, the type of person who would object to Mr. Elmer speaking are the narrow-minded, head-in-the-sand crowd.

  10. Good warning says:

    Great chance to serve process on him!