Career steps, pitfalls, motivation, Lessons
The Julius Baer Group is the leading dedicated wealth manager in Switzerland. Julius Baer concentrates on asset management for discerning private and institutional clients as well as on the management and distribution of investment funds worldwide. The largest Prviate Bank in Switzerland with global presence, it comprises of more than 30 locations in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia, including Zurich, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Lugano, New York, Cayman Islands, Singapore and Tokyo. With more than 4,000 employees worldwide, the Group managed assets in excess of CHF 400 billion at the end of 2007.
The Cayman Islands belong to the largest financial centres in the world in terms of asset under management. And in this sense, it can compete with London, New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Zurich
The Julius Baer’s Cayman Islands Office focuses its business on Trust and Company Adminstration, Investment Funds. It also manages part of the Julius Baer Group’s security portfolio. Although the office is serviced by staff that is limited in number, it outperforms all other Julius Baer Group entities in terms of asset on management and profit per head. There were years that the profit contribution of the Cayman offices was up to one third of the profit of the entire Julius Baer Group. Therefore, the Cayman enitiies were and still are a key element in the Group’s money-making strategy.
MY CAREER AT JULIUS BAER BANK
I spent most of my career in the finance industry, starting as a young intern with Credit Suisse, Zurich, then as an External Auditor with KPMG, Zurich, as Internal Auditor with Julius Baer Bank & Co AG, Zurich and also as Chief Operating Officer with Julius Baer Bank and Trust Company Ltd., Cayman Islands. Later I gained experience in the alternative investments industry as Operation Manager with Noble Investments SA, Zurich. At present, I work for an African institution and live in a country which is considered part of Africa.
With Julius Baer Bank and Trust Co. Ltd, Cayman Islands my many duties and responsibilities included the following:
- Managing the company’s operations, including IT and back-office services;
- Project management as and when required;
- Overseeing the implementation and maintenance of security, internal control systems, business disaster recovery and emergency procedures;
- Controlling the Company’s financial affairs and accounting; controlling and budgeting new financial instruments and treasury matters;
- Managing the Company’s risk exposure, credit control and payment systems;
- Acting as director for an affiliated investment management company providing limited services to a number of Julius Baer mutual funds;
- Supporting the CEO on Human Relations issues as required;
- Liaising with the Company’s external and internal auditors;
- Monitoring all the company’s activities and operations for compliance with local and Swiss regulations and laws;
- Cumulating the formal positions of Compliance Officer, Money Laundering Reporting Officer and Insurance Manager for the company, which employed about 30 – 35 staff
When I started work in the Cayman Islands I was only answerable, and in utmost secrecy, to Top Management in Zurich when
- Carrying out their investment decisions;
- Processing odd deals such as multi-million interest rate swaps or taking on a loan at Julius Baer, New York, which would have brought Julius Baer New York in difficulties with the US Banking regulator;
- Making investments for example in the Long Term Capital Funds which was the source of a downturn of the stock market when it went bankrupt;
- Administrating the infamous Shiv Funds (Triumph I to III) which was run through the Julius Baer New York office and caused a loss for investors of approximately USD 180 Millions;
- Manipulating the share price of CreInvest AG, Zug at the Swiss Stock Market when the demand for shares dropped, and Julius Baer Bank and Trust Co Ltd, Cayman Islands had to buy shares in order to support the stock market price;
I started to work at the Julius Baer’s Cayman Islands Office 1994. The company was in a terrible state and needed to go through a major re-organisation process which included replacing the software and hardware used, workflow improvements, new premises, Business Recovery Site, etc... Only then did I realise how much of an effort it takes to make changes in an organisation where staff and Management are not up to standard (for instance in terms of what I was used to in Switzerland). It took a tremendous amount of time to change mindsets and make the organisation more efficient and business in-flow was simply ridiculous. There was no real effort to advertise. The sums invested in Julius Baer Bank and Trust Co Ltd, Cayman Islands was then phenomenally low. In desperation, the organisation even expanded to provide Investment Manager services to Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds.
Unfortunately, it was expected that I lead most of the change and that meant working long hours. For example in 1995 I had roughly 1,300 hours overtime which went unpaid by Rudolf E. Baer, Julius Baer Holding AG, Zurich. I requested payment but it was turned down. Even in the following years my overtime (in order to cope with the many functions I was forced to cumulate) was well above of the average and it went unpaid. Only later did I realise that Julius Baer has a funny way to thank employees!
Sometimes I even slept in the office because the computer had yet to complete a job and the next job needed to be restarted in due time. Going home did not makes sense. It was even more difficult to work so hard a tropical Island! But I had to set the example for the others, or the rehaul we were planning would not have been possible. I started with a salary of USD 110,000 in 1994 and the highest compensation was USD 212,000 including bonus in 2001. In 2002 no bonus was paid even though I had been part of the organisation all year round. My last official working day was 10. March 2003.
The impossible working hours, coupled with stress resulting from the thanklessness of my employers led me to suffer from a bad back and develop hip problems as other health issues.
This is how the trouble began. I was expected to be a silent witness and subject to internal rules/regulations which were not in line (a) with normal standards, (b) ethics and morals but also (c) with regulations of the International Financial Reporting Standards. I was aware of breaches at all these levels as reported in the first Whistleblower letter. For instance I was requested to issue emails ordering a purchase or a sale for securities to the Zurich Trading desk which had already been executed by Julius Baer, Zurich six hours earlier. I was then even requested to have this action officialised at the local Management Meeting under the form: “the “Management took the following decision …”, “Management ratified the decision”, etc. I was at the time too naïve and overworked to realise what was truly being played out and, frankly speaking, I was too busy enjoying work abroad in an international environment and the multi-cultural exposure my family was getting. For such reasons, I hardly had any time when I was on the job to scrutinise the givens properly. The seriousness of the company’s critical conduct only became obvious later when I finally had the time (after being made redundant) to study the Trust and Companies files in detail. Some of Julius Baer’s transactions and setups, it seems, aimed at minimising taxes at the least, or worse. The data was stored in the system such that only an insider could uncover the particular connections, for instance of a trust with certain companies and their purpose. Neither the police nor the prosecutor had a chance of truly comprehending what was going on and seeing the larger picture behind fragments of information when combined: they never benefited from the information I held nor my viewpoint. Besides, knowledge of common law trust which would have been essential for a full understanding is not part of the usual training programme of Swiss prosecutors and Swiss police investigators.
Due to a high turnover of staff in the Cayman office, poor people management and even alleged sexual harassment by one of the CEOs (Julius Baer had two CEOs in Cayman for only 35 employees, the result of inner company politics!) the Company encountered serious difficulties to motivate individual staff members in order to achieve a commitment to excellence. This, to my knowledge, was a losing battle. In fact, the true motivation for the employee was that with Julius Baer and Trust Co. Ltd, the Cayman compensation package generally outperformed other packages offered on the Islands. Therefore, the motivation of most of the staff was to make money and as much of it as possible, made easier by the relatively light workload at Julius Baer’s at the time. The clients paid a huge premium for obvious reasons in order to maintain their business with Julius Baer in the Cayman Islands. On the other hand, staff was not truly loyal, since teamwork as such did not exist. It was more about completing the job as quickly as possible and then leaving the office. The source of that misery in the Company office was to do with personal motivation at the helm, the forced staff turnover (close to 60 % in 2000, due to mobbing, and immediate terminations of contracts) which created an unstable working environment. It goes without saying that such an environment bred disgruntled staff members, inefficiency and inadequate quality of work. The bottom-line was that there was certainly no “commitment to excellence” instead personal, especially financial, motivation thrived.
When some time later files in the Trust Department disappeared and couldn’t be found anywhere, an internal investigation was initiated. I was told that a lawyer from Julius Baer, New York and a Board member of Julius Baer, Cayman made Management take a polygraph test. To ensure the examination was conducted in accordance with law, Maples and Calder, Cayman, Attorneys-at-Law, supervised the procedure. However, it turns out that the way the lie detector test was conducted itself appears highly questionable and definitely in breach of the Ethical Standards of the American Polygraph Association (APS). Typically, the APS took the position to deny the breach because the test was aborted (in my case) and was carried out under a foreign jurisdiction, in order to protect themselves and their polygraph expert Louis Crisella, Julius Baer and Maples and Calder from litigation. Despite its unreliability and the fact that the accuracy of the polygraph has been contested often since the introduction of the device, the test was used to terminate my contract. This was conspiracy given additionally my consent form was altered after my signing it. For, the following sentence was crossed out after I had signed: “I further understand that I am not taking this test as a condition of employment or continued employment and that I was advised not to be forced to take this test by anyone”. This alteration empowered the organisation to use the results as basis for my dismissal, which would not have been otherwise possible.
The supervisor of the test came from the famous law firm Maples & Calder, Grand Cayman and two Board Members of Julius Baer as well as the legal advisor of Julius Baer, New York were equally present. The consent form was the template of an approved form by the American Polygraph Association. Unfortunately, when I took a break during the test I discovered that the CEO, two Board Members of Julius Baer and a Maples & Calder lawyer were watching the polygraph testing on television in the room next to the testing room. That was another reason why Maples and Calder, Cayman were involved in this dirty business: in order to provide the necessary logistic support.
In the end, my complaint to the American Polygraph Association was not successful and the complaint to the Leader of Government Business (Prime Minister) in Cayman has to date never been answered (Complaint Prime Minister Cayman.pdf ).
It is good to mention that only a few weeks prior to the Polygraph Test my contract with the firm had been changed to a so-called local contract where I lost all my Swiss Employment Protection. According to Swiss Law, dismissal during sickness and holidays after having served a company for 15 years would have been illegal. It remains that, all too conveniently, my contract had been changed to fit Cayman Islands law, which contained no such protection. Moreover, I had been experiencing back and hip pain (see above) at the time of the polygraph test I was taking a full dosage of pain killers/medication in order to attend work and this was even preventing me from sitting up over long periods of time. Doctors were unable to diagnose anything on the Island of Grand Cayman so I had made arrangements to see my doctor in Switzerland during my upcoming vacation as no available medication was proving strong enough to relieve the pain.
dismissal ON FABRICATED GROUNDS
Two very incompatible events led to personal disaster. The Bank forced me (psychological pressure: I was informed by two Board Members that I would only be allowed back to work if I agreed to take the test: they even confiscated my bank keys between the tests) twice to take the polygraph test, which I was unable to follow through to the end due to the pain I was experiencing and the medication I was on (at some point in the office I was having to lie down in the office for three hours to do work-related reading since I was unable to sit up anymore because of the strong pain I was experiencing in the back). I was made to sign the consent form on which I initialled every change I made, just in case. . Because I was unable to complete the test as mentioned I was not allowed to return to my desk from then on. The pain didn’t subside over the weekend so I requested for a sick leave certificate from my doctor as well as advice from a lawyer friend about the legal aspects of the situation at my workplace. There was also no communication with the Bank during that time except for one threatening call from Mr. Charles Farrington, CEO, and my superior, who decided that I was unwilling to cooperate with the Bank. I went on the planned vacation; saw my doctor in Zurich, who immediately referred me to a surgeon. After 3 weeks of conservative treatment my doctors decided to perform a lumbar back operation for two slipped disks and a narrow spine channel. In the meantime my employer informed me that my employment would be terminated (10 December 2002 by DHL to Zurich) even though I was on sick leave and on holiday. The termination would be effective as from 10 March 2003 on the ground of “incompatible differences” This also meant that I was to receive no bonus payment for 2002 which was due the next two months because the Bank handed out the termination just before the end of the year and that was a timely excuse for not paying the bonus. What a dirty way to terminate a 15-year working relationship! I only received the termination letter; it offered no opening to discussion and therefore I was even unable to explain my state of health: that I was very sick and on the highest dosage of medication in order to control the pain those six weeks preceding the back surgery.
Unfortunately, only later did it come to light as mentioned beforehand that there was a crucial alteration in the consent form which had not been initialled by me (I had initialled every single change I made) and it meant someone must have changed it after.
It is my strong conviction that my dismissal was a conspiracy; that my superior needed a scapegoat in the Bank to cover for the losses (missing files). I was told by my superior as early as a few days before the test: “the Bank wants you out” and “it might be a good idea to go for a deep dive in the sea”. After the test he even called me and said it would be better for the family if I returned the missing files. However, as I did not have any missing files I could not oblige. In addition as we know today even the police in Cayman admitted that they could not find any evidence on either my home or my office computer which could have been used against me.
Taking Julius Baer to court in the Cayman Islands was not an option because Maples and Calder, Cayman constitutes the premier law firm on the Islands, the money power of Julius Baer and all the corruption of the Cayman Islands legal system would have left me with no chance of winning the case! It would have been a fight against the windmills and I would have lost all my hard-earned savings and would have had to give in in the end. Taking Julius Baer to court the outcome might have had results of similar import as my stalking and social security complaints. Both were turned down by the prosecutor. I have appealed against the decisions but it hopefully won’t take more than another ten months as it did with the initial complaints for a resolution of the matter.
In 2000, two years before my dismissal I had to undergo medical tests in Miami at the Hospital. I was assured by the company that everything would be covered by the Bank’s Health Insurance Scheme Colin Luke as we were insured in the “gold category”. At this point in time the insurance was going through financial troubles and was unwilling to cover the expenses. They later went into liquidation. The bank did promise to take over the expenses as it was required by law to carry Health Insurance cover on the Island. To this date the Bank hasn’t honoured its promise (amounting to USD 20,000) even though it was provided twice with the medical receipts and claims. Christoph Hiestand, a lawyer of the Bank, stated in a police protocol that the Bank would settle the bill even now if only they received the receipts when in fact copies of same were sent on two occasions. Charles Farrington, CEO, and his assistant have been sitting pretty, reviewing the claims and the summary for over six months in 2002 and have still have not decided to pay up yet! It appears in fact that the sum was deliberately withheld and was to become part of an eventual negotiation package to buy my silence. It was typical of what was going on.
The termination of my contract involved returning to Switzerland which meant selling a good car under price and high overseas relocation expenses. The Bank refused to contribute in any way towards these expenses. Fortunately, the heavy price of my back operation was covered by the new Health Insurance this time.
After settling back in Switzerland again we entered a new daily routine except that, after half a year negotiating with the bank, I started receiving threatening emails on my account. At first I was very naïve and dismissed them as fake or generally harmless but as they became death threatening I reported them to the police. The police was unable to trace the source (public phones, from where the emails were sent have no surveillance cameras in Switzerland). For me it is very likely to originate from a Julius Baer source. The tone itself of the emails was very familiar: the Head of Human Resources, Dr George Schmid told me during one negotiation that if I took the Bank to court “they would finish me up”. Christopher Hiestand, the Bank’s legal representative, was witness to this statement. Facing that many threats I knew my only defence would be data and I had plenty of it. Therefore, I informed the Bank that were something to happen to me, I had made provisions for all the information I had collected to be shared with the relevant authorities or individuals. This helped for a certain period of time.
One day a fellow employee at my new job was stalked, stopped and questioned about me. She did not answer any questions but reported it to her superiors who asked the police for help. A surveillance was set up and one person questioned by the police over the stalking. Nothing illegal was uncovered. Meanwhile, from then on, I was followed in the streets during lunch breaks; on my way home; private investigators were waiting in railway stations; or at any given time I would find a suspicious car on the parking next to my house. Even neighbours got suspicious and alerted the police whenever they encountered many of these disruptive happenings.
One day, I became particularly alarmed when my wife – with my daughter, her cousin and my mother-in-law in the back of the car – arrived to fetch me from work, drove into the parking-lot and realised a man was stalking her from in a black car. She called me and on learning that I had already left the building, started to make her way back home on the highway. In the meantime, the other car pulled out of the parking and followed her. My wife and her mother felt particularly exposed with two children of the age of 4 and 6 on the backseat. My wife called the police and they were only able to stop the suspicious car after a car chase on the highway, searched it and later reported to my wife that the driver was working for a private investigator office, Ryffel AG, Zurich. The private investigator was unwilling to disclose who had hired him. He had no weapons in the car but his conduct put my wife, her mother and two children under enormous pressure during the car chase on the highway and the psychological effects remain with them to this day.
At this point I myself approached the police. I wanted to know who those private investigators were and how best to protect me and my family. I was advised to disrupt my everyday habits, change my life basically but no names were disclosed by the police! I also learned that the police couldn’t act until and unless these men would trespass our private property, or threaten us physically or verbally. Psychological warfare isn’t a crime in Switzerland it seems!
Finally, not only the family generally, but my six-year old daughter became a particular target of the private investigators. It is assumed that putting pressure on a child makes its father more willing to cooperate. Unfortunately, this was not successful because we provided continued psychological support for our daughter and she was accompanied to kindergarten day in, day out, besides which she luckily has a strong personality. During this time she was all the same very affected: she drew a picture depicting herself in a coffin and she indicated: “this is what these bad men are going to do to me”. She was not allowed to play outside on her own and was trained to run away if any stranger would approach her or offer her anything. In Switzerland the psychological imprisonment of innocent victims isn’t a crime it seems!
NEWSPAPER Articles and CALLS
Shortly after the highway chase an article in one of the financial papers (CASH) in Switzerland appeared to report that they had received a CD containing data from the Cayman Island Entity of Julius Baer. A second paper then reported a “Leak in Paradise” (Weltwoche, Lukas Hässig), followed by a third as well (Sonntagszeitung, Peter Ballmer). I was named the culprit without the benefit of a proper investigation or even a trial. Neither reporter spoke to me prior to issuing the articles in the newspapers. I was given no opportunity to express my side of the matter. Ballmer went as far as to call me a psychologically sick person. Based on what I wonder? Yet as of today I still have not been prosecuted for anything in particular! You can find great similarities with an organised manhunt when journalists will go as far as to provide names or initials, information such as is held only by the former COO of Julius Baer and Trust Co Ltd, Cayman Islands in their articles! On the other hand, I knew Julius Baer’s aim might have been to drive me mad, to teach me a lesson or to make me commit a crime as those who are mobbed and pushed to the psychological end of their tether sometimes do. There are many such sad cases even in Switzerland
Only later did I learn that the data on the CD only listed Trust and Companies but hardly any clues that could be useful for third parties. Were it not for my own analysis and my notes (which connected the Trust to the adequate companies) there would have been no easy way to follow the connecting thread.
According to a police report, the newspaper CASH handed a copy of this CD in the Lawyer’s office of Ritter & Schwaibold, Zurich to Julius Baer. Strangely enough, Julius Baer was reluctant to provide the police with a copy in order to compare the data on the CD with the data which was found on my systems at home. This raises further questions such as:
- Why did Julius Baer not cooperate with the police?
- What about all the informers who provided information to CASH and to the largest newspaper Group RINIGER in Switzerland respectively? Must those informers take the risk that their names will be given away when reporting an incident for instance to a newspaper belonging to the RINGIER Group?
- Would the information prove that CASH received the data from a source other than Elmer?
In short, this demonstrates once again the power Julius Baer (over the Swiss Media for example) and the way it handles matters. On the one hand the police appear to be the Bank’s friend and investigate in their name; on the other, the required information has not been provided to the police by the Bank. What game is being played? In the very least the publication of the data ought to have triggered further investigations into Julius Baer business conduct and into its Caribbean clients.
What these events did trigger was phone calls from the former CEO of Julius Baer Holding AG, Zurich, Walter Knabenhans, as well as reporters. Mr. Knabenhans wanted to discuss the matter and to revisit the decision made in my case but I was reluctant as long as he would not admit that the German and Swiss private investigators had been engaged by Julius Baer Holding AG, Zurich. He denied any involvement in those actions taken against me. Therefore, I was not cooperative and this made me sink even deeper. A burnout was foreseeable at this stage. I realised that I would need to protect myself. Fortunately, I took the step to ask for psychological support which helped me to control my emotions because I needed to function in order to feed the family.
SELF-DEFENCE TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE
Knowing that Julius Baer would use any means possible to silence me (psychological warfare, threats, money, attempts at destroying my reputation, going after the family, neighbour, and well-wishers) because I was viewed as a threat to them, I had to consider my defence to keep the enemy at bay, away from me and my family. The defence was obviously “secret data” which I considered my weapon for self-defence and emails to let them know I can threaten them back.
I started to collect names, data and other useful information and put them together in “farewell” letters in case something were to happen to me. I instructed my wife to get the information out if necessary after my possible passing away. You might think I am exaggerating but being involved with high net worth individuals of any calibre especially from South America can be absolutely dangerous. One UBS Banker in Panama disappeared out of a parking lot in 2000 and has never been seen since. Another was murdered in the Cayman Islands just recently (Feb 2008). I still believe that an accident by bicycle (one hour unconscious) which happened in the Cayman Islands to me in early 2000 might well have been an attempt to disable me to work and to force me to leave the Bank and the Islands.
Taking the future to the present I prepared even more letters and documents in order to send out. A large number of people and organisations were thus alerted about what was going on (ironically, these even found their way to the police later, seized during their house search). I was certain that one of the organisations would act: that the tax dodgers would be punished and shamed in public, etc…. Such data might have been triggered a nasty investigation. But luck decided otherwise: I lost the CDs, together with my daughter’s birthday present, in the train and my computer was stolen. But I had become resourceful: I also knew it was necessary to have the information hidden in several places just in case things went wrong and therefore I held data in several locations. That is the way a squirrel works: hiding nuts in several places in order to prepare for winter. Therefore, the more pressure the Bank made the more productive I became!
At that point, I felt cornered into writing emails and, later, letters to the Management and Board of Julius Baer. They needed to know that I could fight and defend my family and that I was no more afraid of fighting than David against Goliath. Clearly all I could use was the secret data but I felt pushed to the edge of my self-control and tempted to use that ultimate option.
The Bank’s response was to issue an injunction against me in a list of about 6 points. The police came to pick me up from home, searched my house, and even my mother’s flat (she suffered and still endures serious migraines but the police carried on searching her flat regardless) for the documents, and I was questioned over several days at the police station. During the first two nights the light was left on all night in my cell and consequently I was in a brittle mental and physical condition. It ended in a 4-week absence from my family and an inconclusive investigation.
After recovering from that stressful time I needed to start looking for a new employer as I had been suspended as a result of Julius Baer’s drastic actions. I had lost a good job where I was respected, and a good salary package and an even better bonus. At least, being out of a job helped me reconnect with my family, especially with my daughter who had dearly missed me.
MY OWN “BATTLE AGAINST WINDMILLS” STARTED YEARS AGO
I found the time to reflect upon the few eventful years. First I realised that I had to take action to recover some of the money lost from my social security account. I started to seek help from different sources and was able to recover nearly a year’s benefit into my social security account from the Bank.
My next step was to find justice regarding the heavy process of stalking which I believe had degenerated from a simple observation into a manhunt (I felt just like a fugitive in my own home country)! However, many were helpful and provided eager support but the prosecutor, Dr. Frauenfelder-Nohl in Zurich declined my request for litigation even though there had been a similar case at the federal court (BGE 129). (German document: Nichteintretensentscheid Stalking 111207.pdf).
I was offered the following arrangement by the Bank: the payment of CHF 500,000 to be made in monthly instalments and in exchange all complaints would have to be dropped and the case would disappear from all records, given even the possible breach of Bank secrecy would have been filed in the archive. This basically means the Bank ultimately wanted to silence me against money. This would be bribery in most countries but not in Switzerland! I was informed by the First Prosecutor, Dr, Frauenfelder-Nohl, that only people in official positions could be bribed in Switzerland. In other words bribery is entirely legal if the counterparty is not an official person. What a shame for Switzerland! (German document: Zürcher Anwaltsverband.pdf) Dr. Frauenfelder-Nohl even pointed out that, in his opinion, I ought to have taken the negotiation package the Bank had offered in order to resolve the matter! In order to receive support and protection and peace I would have had to sell my soul to the devil. So much for standing for my principles!
My battle with Julius Baer is still ongoing and I have changed the strategy. I am not quiet anymore. I am now a whistleblower, letting the world know what truly underlies the so-called “Commitment to Excellence” of Julius Baer. This has been only possible because wikileaks.org, Erklärung von Bern, Andreas Missbach, and the Ombudsman of the state of Zurich, Simon Gerber, supported me in my actions whereas all the following organisations took a “wait-and-see” policy when I approached them:
Police of the Canton of Zurich and Schwyz
UN (Human Rights)
Rights for Children
National and International Tax Authorities
Swiss Bankers Association
Swiss Banking Commission
Zurich’s Lawyers Association
General Attorney of Switzerland
On a side note Julius Baer contacted my present employer in February 2008 and blackmailed me. The result is that I now have to look for a new employer yet again.
It is also clear that under normal circumstances I would never sell information to governments. However, if a government can guarantee a certain levels of protection and security for me and my family I would have no choice but to go along with the deal. Who, under such circumstances, would act any differently? Anyway, the solution was to move the family out of Switzerland.
THE BANK’S “BATTLE AGAINST WINDMILLS” HAS JUST STARTED
In his book Switzerland Blanches Money Whiter Prof Dr. Jean Ziegler, a Swiss native, writes about how it felt just like fighting windmills when dealing with money laundering two decades ago. It might be good to add that he also faced stalking but in those days it was something quite unprecedented and no one was too certain how to deal with it.
It is now Julius Baer that has to fight the windmill: “Internet” and the 1st Amendment (free speech and free press) of the United States of America. It is now proven that in today’s world the internet is the favoured tool for giving people access to information of critical importance. The advantage the internet provides that it cannot be controlled by those who wish to keep the truth shrouded in secrecy. Every individual’s point of view is equally valid and it serves to support and defend democracy, although it is, in the same vein, sometimes given to excess.
It is mind-boggling that Barbara Streisand was able to invent the so-called “Streisand effect” and that the Julius Baer lawyers could not foresee what the outcome of their action would be: a gigantic disaster of Public Relations Mismanagement and possible lawsuits against the Bank.
THE WHISTLEBLOWER’S DESTINY
If you are branded a whistleblower in today’s Financial Industry, not only do you risk losing your current position, but you won’t receive many job offers. You will be considered as a high risk factor instead of an asset for the company. And high risk factors are to be controlled or eliminated.
In essence “whistleblowing” means the willingness to risk a big disruption of your professional and personal life. As a whistleblower you will often be on your own and there is little real support in place, even though there are a few whistleblower organisations in the world, most only in name. At least that is my experience. The saddest part of it is that sometimes your own family members, friends will put pressure on you and you only receive limited support for they themselves will be under constant pressure. For example a family member’s job is now at stake even though he is not involved at all. On the other hand, I have met some great people who understand and appreciate the steps I take to change things for the better.
Ethics and morals or alerting the public on mismanagement are still considered unprofessional or even criminal within the finance establishment. There is some protection in certain countries for whistleblowers but these are exceptions. Switzerland in this case has no protection at all I was told or in other words whistleblowers are unprotected and consequently, there are rarely any in Switzerland.
To my knowledge there is no case I am aware of in Switzerland when whistleblowing did not backfire on the whistleblower and there is little hope this will change. I am only a whistleblower by necessity; I am a person who has been looking for justice, security and peace for the family. The first I have not achieved until now, the second might be achieved because the “Elmer’s” are currently in the limelight of the financial world, and the last we might regain sometime in the future.
Julius Baer wanted to incapacitate me through several unsavoury methods such as fear, psychological terror against family, neighbours and co-workers, establishing me as a mentally sick person with the help of the media, complaints with the police, prison and money in order to create a permanent atmosphere of crisis. The purpose was obviously to destroy my reputation and silence me using a variety of methods. One was to put pressure on me by publishing articles in newspapers revealing my initials, giving information about my person and designating me as primary suspect. To top it all, the two journalists in question did not even provide me with the opportunity to state my position. It was clearly one-sided reporting. I have almost given up on the hope of a fair trial under such circumstances!
My only recourse at the time was to defend myself since I couldn’t depend on support from the authorities and so-called human organisations in Switzerland in order to manage the ever-increasing pressure maintained by the Bank. The time came when the family felt it was being denied a normal life and therefore I was driven to take action. I do not regret having taken the decisions that I took, but it remains that all I had wanted from life was a quiet, happy life, at work and with my family, until the Bank’s corruption changed my destiny. Other bankers will be driven in the same direction in Switzerland and elsewhere by the pressure put by their employers in order to increase profitability based on the generally immoral, unjust and intolerable praxis of the industry.
I would like to thank Julius Baer’s Senior Management because this Bank has unwittingly guided me in a direction whereby I became a person who has the courage to stand up against a giant like Julius Baer, the tax authorities of the Canton of Zurich and even the prosecutors because their conduct needs to be disclosed and made public knowledge in order to change things for a better world!
This is my view of the matter: I admit it is often subjective, emotionally involved, inspired from a negative point-of-view since I was personally hurt by Julius Baer. But it is the truth as I lived it.
Last updated March 12, 2008
Quote from Prof Dr. Jean Ziegler‘s book Switzerland Blanches Money Whiter. In his book Prof Dr. Jean Ziegler, a Swiss native, writes about how fighting money-laundering felt just like fighting windmills two decades ago. It might be good to add that he also faced stalking but in those days it was something quite unprecedented and no one was too certain on how to deal with it.