Bank Julius Baer emerges from hibernation, issues official statement

This just landed in my inbox. Bank Julius Baer would like to clear up some “misconceptions” regarding the WikiLeaks debacle. Here’s their statement, with commentary to follow. — D. T.

ZURICH / NEW YORK, February 28, 2008 — Julius Baer wishes to address certain misconceptions relating to a recent court decision to take the Wikileaks.org website off line.

This decision was arrived at only after a month long effort on the part of Julius Baer and its advisors had failed to identify and engage the operators of Wikileaks in a dialogue regarding the unlawful posting of stolen and forged bank records. This matter has nothing whatsoever to do with censorship or The First Amendment. Instead, Julius Baer’s sole objective has always been limited to the removal of these private and legally protected documents from the website.

The documents in question are protected and prohibited from unauthorized publication under U.S., California and foreign consumer banking and privacy protection laws. The posting of confidential bank records by anonymous sources significantly harms the privacy rights of all individuals.

It is not and has never been Julius Baer’s intention to stifle anyone’s right to free speech. Indeed, Julius Baer has specifically made no attempt to remove material on the website which refers to the organization but which does not include information personal to its customers. However, Julius Baer denies the authenticity of this material and wholly rejects the serious and defamatory allegations which it contains.

Took them long enough to come up with this piece of pablum, didn’t it? But it doesn’t exactly hold together.

First, this statement: “This decision was arrived at only after a month long effort on the part of Julius Baer and its advisors had failed to identify and engage the operators of Wikileaks in a dialogue regarding the unlawful posting of stolen and forged bank records.”

Looking at the correspondence posted on WikiLeaks, this isn’t exactly what happened. Baer’s attorneys attempted to obtain the address of WikiLeaks’ lawyers, so they could slap them with a C&D letter. For its part, WikiLeaks appeared to be deliberately evasive. But at no point did the attorneys identify their client or the documents in question. That’s not exactly a “dialogue” regarding stolen and forged bank records.

Then these two statements: “The posting of confidential bank records by anonymous sources significantly harms the privacy rights of all individuals” and “However, Julius Baer denies the authenticity of this material and wholly rejects the serious and defamatory allegations which it contains.”

The first is arguably true. Nobody wants their personal financial information on display. But if the documents are “forged,” then WikiLeaks didn’t really post confidential bank records, did it? You can’t be a leaker and a liar at the same time. In fact, it’s really unclear what Baer claims is legit (but stolen) and what it claims is false or forged.

And the statement “Julius Baer’s sole objective has always been limited to the removal of these private and legally protected documents from the website” means either that a) they’re lying, b) they really did think that wiping WikiLeaks.org from the DNS records of the Net would only remove those ‘inauthentic’ documents they’re so concerned about, or c) they’re lying.

I’m betting on a and c. How about you?

The hearing on this is scheduled for tomorrow. Both the ACLU and the EFF have filed briefs on behalf of WikiLeaks. Ought to be an interesting show.

31 Responses to “Bank Julius Baer emerges from hibernation, issues official statement”

  1. on 28 Feb 2008 at 11:42 am Amos Caard

    Not to defend anyone, but… they said “Julius Baer has specifically made no attempt to remove material on the website which refers to the organization but which does not include information personal to its customers. However, Julius Baer denies the authenticity of this material and wholly rejects the serious and defamatory allegations which it contains.”

    In other words, “we aren’t trying to stop some of the documents even though we wholly reject them as defamatory lies.”

    As for the “can’t be a leaker and liar at the same time”, that’s just silly. The best lies have elements of truth. You take take real events, real images, real items, and provide a context that spins them in a different direction.

    Their statement is, “Wikileaks is publishing a mixture of stolen material and lies mixed together to defame us. We want the stolen material taken down and we reject the lies as defamatory nonsenese. We tried to talk to the people at Wikileaks but they didn’t work with us so we went to the courts.”

    Is it true? I don’t know… but it isn’t out of line.

  2. on 28 Feb 2008 at 11:48 am Robert C

    “You can’t be a leaker and a liar at the same time. ”

    What? Of course you can. It’s amazing how people confuse the validity of a truth with it’s model of presentation. This is commonly referred to as ‘you fooled yourself, sucka’.

    I also only see one blatant or black lie – The last one. Everything else just looks like any other press release…trying to sell something.

    Not that what I’m saying should make them any more truthful.

  3. on 28 Feb 2008 at 11:59 am Yoweigh

    I’m not defending them either, but this makes no sense:

    Baer says: “This decision was arrived at only after a month long effort on the part of Julius Baer and its advisors had failed to identify and engage the operators of Wikileaks in a dialogue regarding the unlawful posting of stolen and forged bank records.”

    Then you say: “But at no point did the attorneys identify their client or the documents in question. That’s not exactly a “dialogue” regarding stolen and forged bank records.”

    Aren’t those really saying the same thing? They tried to talk to the guys to start this “dialog” but were unable to identify them. Therefore such a dialog was not possible.

    At that point they should have stopped and moved on, but instead they manipulated an ignorant judge to give them what they wanted. Baer’s (or their lawyers’) own ignorance of the internet’s resilience to this type of attack then led to the current situation.

  4. on 28 Feb 2008 at 11:59 am Brad

    Not to defend the bank, but a set of documents CAN be both legitimate and forged at the same time. Some can be real and some can be false. The problem that the bank could be in (if they aren’t totally lying) is that only demanding the take down of the real documents in the C&D will expose which records are real, and as such need to be kept confidential. The ONLY thing the bank could do in that case is to BOTH deny any of the documents are true and demand that they all must be taken down.

  5. on 28 Feb 2008 at 12:02 pm admin

    amos:

    I think your summary is accurate. perhaps julius baer should hire you, since you do a better job of summarizing their case than they do.

    of course, you’re right, a leaker may also lie. a better way for me to put it would be “if it’s a lie, it can’t be a leak.” that’s my real meaning. if the docs are untrue, then they can’t belong to julius baer.

    I do still believe they are being disingenuous about what they did and didn’t attempt to do to the site. and their attorneys could have been much more upfront about who they were representing and what documents they objected to.

    (on wikileaks’ part, someone should have redacted personal information on those accounts. we don’t need the individuals names to make the case for tax evasion or money laundering.)

    dt

  6. on 28 Feb 2008 at 12:11 pm Anonymous Wikileaks User

    For all those who want to access wikileaks

    http://www.wikileaks.be

    for more links, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikileaks#External_links

  7. on 28 Feb 2008 at 12:26 pm Goober

    Looks to me like there’s plenty of blame for both sides. They were both very evasive, and uncooperative, and rude.

  8. on 28 Feb 2008 at 12:48 pm h4rm0ny

    I’m all in favour of openness and preventing censorship, but I don’t see much wrong with their letter and the arguments put against it in this article don’t make sense. They could be lying – I have no way to know, but I see no reason to take on illogical criticisms of them without evidence.

  9. on 28 Feb 2008 at 12:53 pm JBBW

    This doesn’t make sense:

    “The first is arguably true. Nobody wants their personal financial information on display. But if the documents are “forged,” then WikiLeaks didn’t really post confidential bank records, did it? You can’t be a leaker and a liar at the same time. In fact, it’s really unclear what Baer claims is legit (but stolen) and what it claims is false or forged.”

    If someone forges a bank note with my name and bank number then I wouldn’t want it posted. It has my name and bank number – and it is forged.

  10. on 28 Feb 2008 at 12:59 pm Don Marti

    If the bank accused Wikileaks of leaking but not lying, the bank would be admitting the accuracy of the records of its customers’ crimes.

    (Anybody want code to read from a CueCat, a photo of Barbra Streisand’s house, an article about Chiquita banana plantations, some memos from Diebold about voting machines, or a Scientology “Operating Thetan” document?)

  11. on 28 Feb 2008 at 1:25 pm anony23

    While the swiss value their privacy, it is also entirely possible that the records leaked (or published) contain evidence of crimes (money laundering, tax evasion). Banks that build their business on privacy often are profiting from the lawbreaking of its clients.

    The fact is that these documents are public. One cannot make them un-public, regardless of legal actions.

    The only thing that legal actions can do is to stifle debate and discussion of the underlying issues by the media. The (lack of)coverage of the data uncovered by these links shows that the aggressive legal strategy is successful.

    The part where they are lying is when they claim they are not censoring. They are certainly attempting to censor.

    Kudos to Wikileaks for its resistance to censorship. Good first round, guys.

    I don’t think that WikiLeaks has any duty to be forthcoming (they advertise anonymous release of documents, why should they help in either censoring, or negating anonymity?), or cooperative.

    Even if WL were to commit suicide and take down documents that offended this party (and there are better arguments for the removal of sensitive military materials), this material would still be online, never to go away.

    Apparently there are people here comfortable with lawyers for Swiss banks censoring US websites. Would they have similar comfort if it were China wishing to silence dissidents, or North Korea who wanted a website to ‘go away’?

    Anon.

  12. on 28 Feb 2008 at 2:11 pm Bingo Bango Boingo

    Wow. It’s difficult to envisage a more wilful misreading of a perfectly consistent and reasonable statement. Two points worth repeating: (1) the statement says they failed, after repeated attempts, to engage in a meaningful dialogue with WikiLeaks, and not that they engaged in one, and (2) the documents the authenticity of which is denied are not the documents that contain confidential customer information. I’m not sure how any reasonable person reading the statement could come to any other conclusion.

    BBB

  13. on 28 Feb 2008 at 3:49 pm Saiing

    “The part where they are lying is when they claim they are not censoring. They are certainly attempting to censor.”

    If… and it’s a big if…. they are correct and the documents are forged, it’s got nothing to do with censorship. They’re protecting themselves or their clients from defamation. People scream this term “censorship” without really understanding what it means. Censorship is denying access to information that people should rightfully know. Legal protection to stop someone from just making up whatever shit they want and posting it, benefits all of us.

    Again, as many people have already cautioned, I’m not defending either them or WikiLeaks, but this whole issue is starting to look like neither side acted entirely properly.

  14. on 28 Feb 2008 at 4:16 pm banker

    The best defense to defamation is truth. A defamatory statement then which Baer is stating these documents are… would constitute a civil action, which they did. In addition, crime… These documents do not actually contain criminal offences, it is not illegal to evade tax in Switzerland, and there are strong banking privacy laws that protect banking records. This is why Switzerland has been a banking vanguard for many years. I am in support of the bank. They have exercised their rights, and the leaker, should be sued for the damages. Wiki leaks should have been more diligent in their conduct.

  15. on 28 Feb 2008 at 5:14 pm rad dude

    whoah

  16. on 28 Feb 2008 at 5:36 pm admin

    bbb:

    so you think this is “perfectly consistent and reasonable statement.” I gotta disagree.

    yes, there may be three classes of documents being discussed here — authentic “stolen” documents, “forged” documents, and “defamatory allegations.” it’s hard to know from this rather terse statement if these are the categories the bank is talking about. but let’s assume they are, and that the bank sincerely desired to remove the first two.

    but it did so by effectively removing ALL documents from WikiLeaks.org (at least, until people figured out they could still get at them). I think it’s reasonable to assume that the bank thought it was shutting wikileaks.org down entirely.

    so I’m not really buying the statement “Julius Baer has specifically made no attempt to remove material on the website which refers to the organization but which does not include information personal to its customers.” that just doesn’t fly with me. I wouldn’t consider that a reasonable response or consistent with the facts. sorry.

    dt

  17. on 28 Feb 2008 at 5:41 pm admin

    fyi, Wikileaks posted its own response to the press release here: http://www.wikileaks.be/wiki/Wikileaks_blasts_Cayman_Islands_bank

    worth a look.

    dt

  18. on 28 Feb 2008 at 5:46 pm Dan

    I don’t know why they bothered the site is still near the top of a google search and only a moron would give up due to a DNS block, without first running a search for the site name.

  19. on 28 Feb 2008 at 9:52 pm mossydog

    I guess if Julius Baer and their clients were (are) committing criminal acts and a whistleblower exposed them,that would purposefully defamatory(duh). Criminals should be defamed.

    Who cares if a Swiss banks client’s are defamed other than the bank and the client. The client is a criminal anyway. No one but criminals use Swiss banks. We treat these banks as though they are legitimate concerns and not the money laundering, and arms and drug dealers safe havens to park their money, or rogue government agencies hide the largesse that they’ve stolen from their respective countries.

    These firms hide behind fancy names and granite facades with tasteful brass plaques and facilitate the shady deals of the most evil people in the world.

    They then come in and pay off a judge to censor a website that is trying to expose their corruption. The judge and Bank should be prosecuted.

  20. on 29 Feb 2008 at 12:19 am Not A Lawyer

    after reading all of the summaries at wikileaks … there does appear to be several JB documents that are “updated” to reflect the suspicion of falsehood.OK!

    That tells me that there are some fakes and some truths. big deal! now the whole world knows all about how nasty JB really is.

    I sure hope that all those federal tax auditors really do in JB. ‘cuz if the documents that aren’t updated to reflect falsehoods are real, then JB deserves to be blown …

    reverse pun intended:)

  21. [...] that the controversial documents in question need to be taken offline both because they’re forged and also because they reveal confidential info. While it is possible that a forged document would also have some legitimate confidential info, it [...]

  22. on 29 Feb 2008 at 6:14 am SigmaX

    In the correspondence posted on Wikileaks, Spiegel (JB Lawyer) was extraordinarily rude, and never really gave Wikileaks a chance. They responded with a question, and Spiegel basically said “aha! You didn’t give me what I wanted in your first email! I can use that against you in court!” And apparently he did. All the same, Wikileaks should have been a bit more cooperative, I guess — but I wasn’t there.

    The big-name companies who send warnings to Pirate Bay are much more polite, though I’ll note that Pirate Bay’s response letters are very rude and immature.

    The Wikileaks response to the press release is very well done, IMO.

    Siggy

  23. [...] Update (29/02/2008): story goes on. [...]

  24. on 29 Feb 2008 at 4:37 pm holotone.net

    [...] Tynan on Technology » Bank Julius Baer emerges from hibernation, issues official statement [...]

  25. [...] that the controversial documents in question need to be taken offline both because they’re forged and also because they reveal confidential info. While it is possible that a forged document would also have some legitimate confidential info, it [...]

  26. [...] to force Wikileaks off the web has finally issued a press-release to try and justify their actions. Tynan on Techology (via) has the full statement, along with some [...]

  27. [...] that the controversial documents in question need to be taken offline both because they’re forged and also because they reveal confidential info. While it is possible that a forged document would also have some legitimate confidential info, it [...]

  28. on 14 May 2009 at 2:01 pm peter humphries

    Pictet & Cie.- claim they are the “Rolls Royce”of swiss banks.

    Swiss Banks or more correctly Swizz banks.

    Swizz. —- “ a great disappointment.” or a “ fraud.”

    Fraud. —“ an intentional deception or dishonesty.”— “a crime.”

    Crime. —“ an act committed or omitted in violation of a law.”

    Serious Crimes .

    Conspiring to pervert the Course of Justice.
    Perverting the Course of Justice.
    Contempt of Court.

    The Establishment “ Cover up crimes”.

    The ‘Doyens’ of the establishment.’ ( Ivan Pictet and Monty Raphael.)

    Ivan Pictet.
    Managing partner in Pictet & Cie Bank .— Switzerland.
    President of the Geneva Financial Centre.
    World Bank.committee member.
    United Nations. Investment Committee member,
    Vice President – Global Humanitarian Forum.
    Member of the Henokiens.
    Blackstone Group — Board Member.
    Past- President – Geneva Private Bankers association.
    Past –President – Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    Monty Raphael.
    Quote.” —- Doyen of U.K. Fraud lawyers.
    Consultant & Head of Fraud and Regulatory Dept.
    Member of Board of Directors of the Fraud Advisory panel.
    Member of the Law Society of England & Wales.
    International Bar Association Member.
    Past President—London Criminal Court Solicitors Association.
    Past Chairman —of Anti Corruption Committee.
    Founder of Business Crime Committee of the International Bar
    Association.

    Pictet & Cie Bank & Peters & Peters.

    The bank and it’s officials deliberately withheld crucial documents requested under a High Court order.The bank and it’s officials deliberately withheld evidence from the Police , and one of it’s account managers Susan Broadhead gave a false witness statement to the police.
    Another one of it’s managers Nicholas Campiche ( Now Head of Pictet – Alternative Investments.)concocted a letter pretending to be a client and closed his account. The senior partner (Ivan Pictet.)sought to have numerous documents destroyed,along with those copies held in their London office of P.A.M. Initially stating that they were forgeries then their lawyers Peters & Peters – Monty Raphael – and the barrister Charles Flint.Q.C.) –later had to admit in Court that the documents were genuine.

    (1) It is a criminal offence for a bank to knowingly act for an undischarged criminal bankrupt in so far as it seeks to assist that criminal bankrupt in the fraudulent movement of monies. ( Money Laundering.)

    (2) It is a criminal offence for a bank to lie to the police and the bankrupts trustee in bankruptcy in so far as any knowledge of, or dealings with the bank was refuted .

    (3) A bank can be guilty of Contempt of Court if it fails to comply fully with the Courts order for discovery .

    (4) The banks contempt is further compounded if it fails to address its error after it is specifically drawn to the to its solicitors attention. ( Monty Raphael).

    (5) It is a criminal offence under the Financial Services Act to seek to destroy evidence that might be relevant to an investigation .

    (6) It is a criminal offence not to relinquish control of funds to the Trustee immediately the fact of the bankruptcy is drawn to the banks attention.

    (7) It is a criminal offence to lie or otherwise obfuscate the lawful and proper enquiries of the F.S.A.

    On Dec 9th,2008. the complaint was sent to 150 Members of the House Of Lords and 230 Members of Parliament.

    *** We thank —David Cameron. M.P. ( Canary Wharf Speech.) Dec. 15th.2008.

    (1) Bankers who behave irresponsibly should face professional consequences.
    (2) If anyone is found to have behaved criminally they must be prosecuted.
    (3) The F.S.A. and the Serious Fraud Office should be following up every lead, investigating every suspect transaction .
    (4) We need to make it 100% clear –those who break the law should face prosecution.
    (5) That we make sure we root out any wrongdoing that may have happened, whoever is involved ,however high or well connected they may be.

    Quote. ( America’s Top Lawyer .)
    You can be the richest man in the world with the best lawyers that money can buy but you cannot win against a man who has got nothing left to lose and is telling the truth.

    Full Story.
    Go to search box on “Google” and insert ( Ivan Pictet / Monty Raphael) or
    insert ( Pictet & Cie / Monty Raphael.) – - then try it on “Yahoo”.
    Or try (Jack Loach/ Ivan Pictet.)

  29. on 18 Feb 2010 at 11:28 am peter humphries

    Swiss Banks.
    & other offshore banking countries.
    Secrecy.—–. Secret numbered accounts.

    The benefits to the bank are far greater than the benefits to the client .
    The funds are easy to deposit but very difficult to withdraw.
    You can/might be paid the interest accrued but don’t ask for the capital.

    This type of banking facilitates crime. ( a place to hide criminally obtained monies.)
    Category.
    A. Drug Trafficking , Arms Dealing. International Fraud.
    B. Organized Crime. Serious Fraud .
    C. Tax Evasion . ( Income Tax – V.A.T—Corporation tax. Etc.

    60% of the funds held in these banks fall into Categories A & B.
    20% of the funds held in these banks fall into Category C.
    _______________________

    If you have monies in one of these banks. ( either legal or illegal monies.)

    Remember. ( do not die.)

    Even if you have told your wife about your “secret account.” or your children , or solicitor ,or left documents with your Will , it is impossible for them to claim the monies from that account. ( clever these banks.)

    Do you recall. ( Don Johnson— in TV Show . Miami Vice.)

    In 2003 he and three associates were sent by American Business Organisations to withdraw £,6.000,000,000. ( six billions.) from the accounts they had in Swiss Banks. (in bonds- securities etc.)

    I wonder how the police on the Swiss border knew to stop their particular car that day after they had been to the Swiss banks . They were searched and arrested. Don and his friends made a mistake . They should not have asked for their monies back from the Swiss Banks.( clever these banks.)

  30. on 03 Apr 2012 at 3:57 pm jack loach

    The Criminal Super Class.
    Bankers.
    Lawyers.
    Police. April.2012.

    Over approximately five years of hitting the internet with a case that involves criminality by a major Swiss Bank , Britain’s most prominent fraud lawyer and a regional police force headed by one of Britains top policeman. ( Surely justice should prevail.)

    In fact the complete opposite even though the offences committed are very serious.

    Conspiring to Pervert the Course of Justice.
    Perverting the Course of Justice.
    Contempt of Court.—————— plus a dozen or so smaller offences.

    In the five years some 6-7million e-mails have been forwarded to all Members of Parliaments in Britain and Switzerland, every barrister and chambers in Europe .
    Every law inforcement body in both countries , and America. Even raised in Parliament twice.

    The banking fraternity fully aware of this case still decide to give the Private Banker of the Year Award to Ivan Pictet — Pictet & Cie Bank. ( Him being the person most responsible for the crimes committed by him and his bank partners. )

    The legal fraternity decided that Monty Raphael of Peters & Peters . London became an honourable Queens Counsellor and to rub the salt in six months later made a Master of the Bench. He also was guilty of all the above offences but so what. At this rate he might become King by the end of the year.

    The police ( West Yorkshire Police.) headed by Sir Norman Bettison has not improved as a force on fighting crime. They are now worse than the days of the Yorkshire Ripper , when they had him in custody nine times and let him go. If it hadn’t been for the South Yorkshire Police force catching the Ripper he would have still been at large to day .

    Then they wonder why the man in the street becomes angry and decides to riot.
    Even after five years of exposing their crimes on the internet , they dare not take legal action to stop us — no injunctions — no writs – they can’t risk going to jail.
    All we can do is to continue pressing for justice and up the pressure on the internet. For the next five years and beyond.

  31. on 13 May 2012 at 4:04 pm jack loach

    Pictet & Cie. Bank – list of crimes.

    1996 —- Breach in London.
    2003 — FSA — States rogues operating in Pictet’s –London
    Office . Ivan Pictet said documents were forgeries but
    were lated proved to be genuine. Had documents held
    in London office destroyed.

    2007 — Japan. —- The Securities and Exchange Surveillance
    issued a recommendation that the Prime Minister and
    The Commissioner of the FSA to take disciplinary
    action against Pictet Asset Management. Japan Ltd.

    2008 — Dec. —Pictet Bank state — “ we have never chosen
    any funds linked to Madoff.”

    2011 — Madoff Trustees sue Pictet & Cie. For $156 Million.

    2011— Bank at centre of Bribery and money laundering case.
    Being sued for $350 million. ( In U.S.A.)

    2012.— Geneva Bank Pictet used in Offshore Tax Scheme.
    U.S. Authority states.

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