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CONVERSATIONS

This section of the Corporate Crime Observatory focuses on showcasing a series of events that foster meaningful and insightful dialogues with distinguished international experts. Our objective through these interactions is to explore the depths of economic and corporate crime, seeking to unravel and understand the multifaceted and complex issues that lie at its core. This endeavor is designed to offer a thorough and nuanced comprehension of the various aspects that contribute to corporate and economic crime, thereby enhancing our collective knowledge in these fields. 

SHINING LIGHT ON THE BANKING SYSTEM: RUDOLF ELMER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE SHADOWS OF THE FINANCE WORLD
Organizer: Dr. Costantino Grasso

Rudolf Elmer

Rudolph Elmer is an expert in off-shore accounting and banking secrecy. He is one of the most prominent whistleblowers in the context of financial matters. Rudolf Elmer’s experiences have shed light on the more opaque aspects of banking and finance, challenging institutions that appeared impervious to scrutiny. He has displayed remarkable courage in exposing the activities of Julius Baer, a Swiss private bank in the Cayman Islands, and its alleged involvement in tax abuse schemes. One of Rudolph's significant revelations was Julius Baer’s shadow banking activities consisting of the fact that, although the bank had declared its services to have been carried out in the Cayman Islands, in reality, the work had been conducted in Switzerland. This commitment to integrity came at a personal cost, as he faced harassment from the bank and legal prosecution from Swiss authorities for violating Swiss bank secrecy laws. Despite facing initial convictions, Rudolph Elmer was eventually acquitted by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in 2018. His remarkable story has been featured in two iconic documentaries, namely "A Leak in Paradise" by David Leloup and "Offshore - Elmer and the Swiss Bank Secrecy" by Werner Schweizer.

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On December 14, 2023, Dr. Costantino Grasso, who serves as an Associate Professor in Business and Law at Manchester Law School, organized this Special Guest Session, inviting Rudolf Elmer for an interactive conversation with his Master of Laws (LLM) post-graduate students as part of the Business Organization and Corporate Governance course. The special session aimed to provide a unique opportunity for students to engage with Rudolf Elmer and gain insights from his extensive experience. The discussion not only enriched their understanding of the technical aspects of offshore finance and whistleblowing but also served as an inspiration, shedding light on events that occur in nearly every professional career when individuals are compelled to take a stand or assume significant risks, either for themselves or their employers.

The Corporate Crime Observatory has had the privilege of publishing this inspiring and enlightening experience, sharing Rudolph Elmer's profound insights and firsthand experiences with our global audience.

The session covered the following topics:

•    Opening Remarks [link]
1.    Negotiations and Compensation [
link]
2.    Corporate Stalking Activities and Harassment [
link]
3.    Ethical Dilemmas and Professional Integrity within Corporate Realities [
link]
4.    Academic and Professional Support for Ethical Challenges [
link]
5.    Interaction with Swiss Authorities [
link]
6.    Criminalization and the Protection of Swiss Banking Secrecy [
link]
7.    The 2018 Swiss Supreme Court's Verdict [
link]
8.    Media Coverage and Impartiality [
link]
9.    Influence of Panama Papers and Other Leaks [
link]
10.    Personal Insights and Perspective on Whistleblowing [
link]
11.    Pre-employment Awareness of Potential Unethical or Illegal Practices [
link
12.    Corporations as Black Boxes [
link]
13.    Complexity of Corporate Structure and Accountability [
link]
14.    Accountability of Top Managers in Corporate Scandals [
link]
15.    Status and Duration of Legal Cases [
link]
16.    Applications to the European Court of Human Rights [
link]
17.    Guidance for Potential Whistleblowers [
link]
18.    Decision-Making Process and Motivations Behind Becoming a Whistleblower [
link
19.    Explaining the Prevalence of Unethical Behavior in Corporations [
link]
20.    Social Relationships and Friendships After Blowing the Whistle [
link]
21.    Maintaining Neutrality in Moral Stressful Situations [
link]
•    Conclusive Remarks [
link]

Reference Material and Sources

Please find below the material provided by expert Rudolf Elmer, which pertains to the topics discussed during the conversation. The Corporate Crime Observatory has not verified the origin or authenticity of the material supplied.

Assignment as Chief Operating Officer, Julius Baer and Rudolf Elmer, 1999.

Expatriate Agreement between Julius Baer and Rudolf Elmer, September 1, 1999.
Sam Jones, Cayman
directors sit on hundreds of boards, The Financial Times, November 20, 2011.
GRECO Reply to Rudolf Elmer, November 29, 2021.

Additional Material and Sources

You may also download the following document including additional specifications provided by Rudolf Elmer, which complement the conversation that took place on December 14, 2023:


Rudolf Elmer, Perspectives from a Whistleblower on Exposing Tax Abuses and Challenging Swiss Banking Secrecy, Corporate Crime Observatory, January 13, 2024. 

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Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: Rudolf Elmer, ‘Master of Laws (LLM) Special Guest Session: Conversation with Rudolf Elmer,’ CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (Dec. 14, 2023), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews

APA: Elmer, R. (2023, Dec. 14). ‘Master of Laws (LLM) Special Guest Session: Conversation with Rudolf Elmer’. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews
 

HARVARD: Elmer, R. (2023) ‘Master of Laws (LLM) Special Guest Session: Conversation with Rudolf Elmer’. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews

OSCOLA:
Rudolf Elmer, ‘Master of Laws (LLM) Special Guest Session: Conversation with Rudolf Elmer’, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 14 December 2023), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews>

FROM SCIENCE TO FOOD SAFETY: DR. YASMINE MOTARJEMI’S INSIGHTS INTO CORPORATE IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
Organizer: Dr. Costantino Grasso

Yasmine Motarjemi

Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi is a renowned international expert in the area of food safety, holding an MSc in Food Science and Technology from the University of Languedoc, Montpellier, France, and a Doctoral degree in Food Engineering from the University of Lund, Sweden. Following her academic pursuits, she joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva as a Senior Scientist in 1990. During her tenure at WHO, she played a pivotal role in matters concerning the surveillance and prevention of foodborne illnesses, education of food handlers, and the development of food safety assurance systems. Throughout her career, Dr. Motarjemi has authored, co-authored, or edited numerous peer-reviewed articles, books, training manuals, and other publications, including a book focused on food safety for children. From 2000 to 2011, she held the position of Assistant Vice President at Nestlé, where she served as the Corporate Food Safety Manager. During this period, she was instrumental in developing the Nestlé Food Safety Management system and addressing various emerging food safety challenges. However, in 2006, Dr. Motarjemi raised concerns within Nestlé regarding ongoing mismanagement in food safety practices. Despite her efforts, she faced harassment and eventually termination from the company in 2010, officially citing differences in opinion regarding food safety. However, in 2023, Nestlé was found guilty by a Swiss court of unjustly retaliating against her.

On April 18, 2024, Dr. Costantino Grasso, who serves as an Associate Professor in Business and Law at Manchester Law School, organized this Special Guest Session, inviting Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi for an interactive conversation with his Master of Laws (LLM) post-graduate students as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics course. The aim was to allow students to engage with Dr. Motarjemi and gain insights from her extensive experience in the field of food safety and corporate irresponsible behavior in the food sector. The discussion not only enriched the students' understanding of how the food industry operates and the inherent tensions between corporate profitability and public safety but also served as an inspiration shedding light on the challenges individuals face when advocating for ethical practices. The Corporate Crime Observatory, in cooperation with the Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics Blog, had the privilege of publishing the insights and experiences shared during this session, further disseminating Dr. Motarjemi's valuable perspectives to a global audience. The session covered a wide range of topics, including the various dimensions of the food industry, corporate adherence to food safety standards, the role of multinational corporations, and the effectiveness of corporate social responsibility initiatives within the industry.

The session covered the following topics:

•   Guest Introduction (Dr. Costantino Grasso) [link]
1.    The Food Industry and Its Various Dimensions [
link]
2.    The Food Industry: Specific Characteristics and Distinguishing Traits [
link]
3.    The Role of Multinational Corporations in the Food Sector [
link]
4.    Food Industry: Main Players and Concentration of Corporate Power [
link]
5.    The Definition of Food Safety [
link]
6.    The Perilous Exposure to Harmful or Unhealthy Food [
link]
7.    Corporate Adherence to Food Safety Standards [
link]

8.    Prioritizing Profit and Other Factors: Drivers of Neglected Food Safety [link]
9.    The Establishment of Food Safety Standards [
link]
10.    Food Safety Standards: Corporate Unethical Lobbying [
link]
11.    The Effectiveness of Food Safety Standards [
link
12.    Exploring Stakeholders’ Role in the Area of Food Safety [
link]
13.    Corporate Social Responsibility within the Food Industry [
link]
14.    Evaluating CSR, ESG, or Sustainability Reports: An Overview [
link]
15.    Evaluating CSR, ESG, or Sustainability Reports: Quantitative Analysis [
link]
16.    Evaluating CSR, ESG, or Sustainability Reports: Qualitative Analysis [
link]
17.    Evaluating CSR, ESG, or Sustainability Reports: Inadequate Culture [
link]
18.    Lack of Executives’ Accountability for Food Safety Violations [
link
19.    Assessing the Effectiveness of CSR-focused Solutions [
link]
20.    Corporate Exploitation of Regulatory Gaps [
link]
•    Conclusive Remarks [link]

Reference Material and Sources

Please find below relevant material and sources related to the topics discussed during the conversation. 

[Topic 7]

  1. Urs Schnell, Bottled Life: Nestle's Business with Water, IMDbwww.imdb.com/title/tt2072910

  2. Flora Southey, Nestlé in hot water over Perrier and Vittel processing methods, Food Navigator Europe, Mar. 1, 2024, https://perma.cc/M7S7-W3Y5

  3. Yasmine Motarjemi, Nestlé mineral water scandal reveals yet another chain of failures, LinkedIn, April 29, 2024, https://perma.cc/G4HD-4DRZ

Suggested Citation

BLUEBOOK: Yasmine Motarjemi, ‘From Science to Food Safety: Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi’s Insights into Corporate Irresponsible Behavior,’ CORPORATE CRIME OBSERVATORY, at [00:00] (April 18, 2024), www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews

APA: Motarjemi, Y. (2024, April 18). ‘From Science to Food Safety: Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi’s Insights into Corporate Irresponsible Behavior’. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Retrieved from www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews
 

HARVARD: Motarjemi, Y. (2024) ‘From Science to Food Safety: Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi’s Insights into Corporate Irresponsible Behavior’. Corporate Crime Observatory. Video recording at [00:00]. Available at: www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews

OSCOLA: Yasmine Motarjemi, ‘From Science to Food Safety: Dr. Yasmine Motarjemi’s Insights into Corporate Irresponsible Behavior’, (Corporate Crime Observatory, 18 April 2024), video recording at​ [00:00] <www.corporatecrime.co.uk/guest-sessions-and-interviews>

SHINING LIGHT ON THE BANKING SYSTEM: RUDOLF ELMER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE SHADOWS OF THE FINANCE WORLD
FROM SCIENCE TO FOOD SAFETY: DR. YASMINE MOTARJEMI’S INSIGHTS INTO CORPORATE IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
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