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CONVERSATION WITH RUDOLF ELMER: BANK SECRECY AND WHISTLEBLOWING

On December 14, 2023, Dr. Costantino Grasso, 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. 


Please see additional details on the Corporate Crime Observatory website: https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/conversations



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" and " Offshore – Elmer and The Swiss Bank Secrecy."


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

1.    Negotiations and Compensation 

2.    Corporate Stalking Activities and Harassment

3.    Ethical Dilemmas and Professional Integrity within Corporate Realities

4.    Academic and Professional Support for Ethical Challenges

5.    Interaction with Swiss Authorities

6.    Criminalization and the protection of Swiss Banking Secrecy

7.    The 2018 Swiss Supreme Court's Verdict

8.    Media Coverage and Impartiality

9.    Influence of Panama Papers and Other Leaks

10.    Personal Insights and Perspective on Whistleblowing

11.    Pre-employment Awareness of Potential Unethical or Illegal Practices 

12.    Corporations as Black Boxes

13.    Complexity of Corporate Structure and Accountability

14.    Accountability of Top Managers in Corporate Scandals

15.    Status and Duration of Legal Cases

16.    Applications to the European Court of Human Rights

17.    Guidance for Potential Whistleblowers

18.    Decision-Making Process and Motivations Behind Becoming a Whistleblower 

19.    Explaining the Prevalence of Unethical Behavior in Corporations

20.    Social Relationships and Friendships After Blowing the Whistle

21.    Maintaining Neutrality in Moral Stressful Situations

•    Conclusive Remarks


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