Wikileaks.org, an organization devoted to exposing corruption, has been muzzled by a U.S. court order (see pdf below) at the request of a Swiss bank, Bank Julius Baer, and its Cayman Islands subsidiary, who had been implicated in allegedly laundering money by documents posted on Wikileaks.org. But rather than attack a specific finding or document, the court has ordered their DNS registrar to essentially erase the organization's website from the Web. While Wikileaks.org is down, their site can be found via IP address: http://188.8.131.52, which is hosted in Sweden.
A recap of Wikileaks coverage of Bank Julius Baer
by Julian Assange and Daniel Schmitt - 23-01-2008
Over the last two weeks, Wikileaks has released several hundred documents from a Swiss banking whistleblower purportedly showing offshore tax evasion and money laundering by extremely wealthy and, in some cases, politically sensitive clients from the US, Europe, China and Peru.
Part of the data was leaked to US and German tax authorities in 2005 and the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the act of leaking but not those mentioned in the material. The detail and specific allegations have previously been unavailable to the public.
The bank concerned, Julius Baer (BJB), which specializes in asset hiding, has briefed Hollywood media lawyers Lavely and Singer, who like to describe themselves as "all-around bad cop for stars from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jim Carrey and Celine Dion.".
Strangely, Lavely and Singer have refused to put in writing either the name of their client or name of the documents concerned. However in a telephone call yesterday between Wikileaks' Californian counsel Julie Turner [editor: Julie Turner was Wikileaks pre-litigation lawyer for this matter. Don't send her material for Wikileaks in general] and Lavely and Singer's Evan Spiegel, L&S admitted their client was BJB and claimed that the whistleblower concerned was the former deputy director of the Cayman Islands office, Rudolf Elmer.
Mr. Elmer, who has since returned to Zurich, took a December 2007 anti-stalking case against BJB in an attempt to prevent BJB's private detectives following him. L&S claims that it has its own proceedings against the whistleblower scheduled for hearing this month. L&S made several other allegations against Mr. Elmer to Wikileaks' counsel, however L&S have not put these in writing.
The Swiss daily, Weltwoche, in its 2005 article "The Leak in Paradise", confirmed the veracity of several of the files with two BJB Cayman Islands office employees.
Although Wikileaks can not say that the files are identical to those seen by the Swiss paper, in light of BJB's threatened legal attack on Wikileaks over documents that:
- ..constitute violation of trade secrets, conversion and stolen documents by former employee in violation of a written confidentiality agreement and copyright infringement, among other wrongful and tortuous conduct.
Wikileaks asks that the documents and BJB's practices of asset hiding be inspected and reminds BJB that its failure to openly respond to the allegations against it continues to draw scrutiny of the public and regulators (to whom the material has been forwarded) alike.
The following documents form the full record of censorship demands from lawyers acting for the Swiss/Cayman Islands Bank Julius Baer and Wikileaks replies. The material is presented in reverse-chronological order.
Lavely and Singer, BJB's Hollywood lawyers, refused to reveal the name of their client or place their allegations in writing, other than to give a one paragraph reference to unspecified "copyright", "trade secrets" and "tortuous conduct" claims (see the end of this file). L&S also refused to identify the documents they claimed were at issue.
Wikileaks takes its sources seriously. Wikileaks takes their efforts to get material out to the public very seriously. That means we are obligated not only to protect their identity, should they desire, but also to give full voice to the risks they have taken. This is our moral bedrock.
As the following correspondence demonstrates, BJB refused to put their allegations in writing as repeatedly requested. Consequently continued publication was a foregone conclusion.
Wikileaks received no further demands from BJB until the surprise ex-parte hearing.
Full correspondence over the demands follow:
----- Forwarded message from Wikileaks Legal ----- X-Original-To: email@example.com Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Privacy: yes Privacy: yes From: Wikileaks Legal To: Evan Spiegel Cc: Wikileaks Legal , Wikileaks , email@example.com Subject: Re: Legal Notice & Demands Privacy: yes In-Reply-To: <20080116202710.29B2C393F34@mail.wikileaks.org> Privacy: yes Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 07:39:08 +0000 (GMT) > > On Tue, Jan 15, 2008 at 08:28:11PM +0000, Evan Spiegel wrote: > > > Dear Sir or Madam: > > > > > > Please immediately send the undersigned your full contact details for > > > transmission of legal notices with regard to content posted on wikileaks > > > that constitute violation of tradesecrets, conversion and stolen > > > documents by former employee in violation of a written confidentiality > > > agreement and copyright infringement, among other wrongful and tortuous > > > conduct. > > > > > > Thank you. > > > > > > Sincerely, > > > Evan N. Spiegel > > > > > > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > > EVAN N. SPIEGEL, ESQ. > > > LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION > > > ATTORNEYS AT LAW > > > 2049 CENTURY PARK EAST, SUITE 2400 > > > LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90067-2906 > > > TELEPHONE: (310) 556-3501 > > > FACSIMILE: (310) 556-3615 > > > www.LavelySinger.com > > > E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org > > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > > > > > THIS MESSAGE IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE USE OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY TO > > > WHICH IT IS ADDRESSED, AND MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, > > > CONFIDENTIAL AND EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER APPLICABLE LAW AND MAY NOT > > > BE PUBLISHED OR DISSEMINATED IN WHOLE OR IN PART. IF THE READER OF THIS > > > MESSAGE IS NOT THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, OR THE EMPLOYEE OR AGENT > > > RESPONSIBLE FOR DELIVERING THE MESSAGE TO THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, YOU > > > ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED THAT ANY DISCLOSURE, COPYING, DISTRIBUTION OR THE > > > TAKING OF ANY ACTION IN RELIANCE ON THE CONTENTS OF THIS COMMUNICATION > > > IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS COMMUNICATION IN > > > ERROR, PLEASE NOTIFY THE LAW OFFICES OF LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL > > > CORPORATION IMMEDIATELY BY TELEPHONE (310-556-3501) OR E-MAIL (REPLY TO > > > SENDER'S ADDRESS), AND THEN DESTROY ALL COPIES OF THIS COMMUNICATION AND > > > ANY ATTACHED FILES. THANK YOU. > > > > > -----Original Message----- > > From: Wikileaks [mailto:email@example.com] > > Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 12:57 PM > > To: Evan Spiegel > > Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org > > Subject: Re: Legal Notice & Demands > > > > Dear Mr. Spiegel, > > > > Wikileaks is run over multiple national jurisdictions. So we can > > assign your request to the appropriate group for processing, please > > inform us which document(s) you are referring to, the name and > > jurisdiction of your client and the jurisdiction under which L&S > > is making legal claims or demands. > > > > Best wishes, > > K Lim. > > > On Tue, Jan 15, 2008 at 09:33:36PM +0000, Evan Spiegel wrote: > > > > Dear K Lim: > > The jurisdictions at issue include California, the UK and Switzerland. > > Legal proceedings will be commenced separately in each location should > > the stolen documents at issue not be removed. Please provide contact > > information for your legal representatives in each of the three > > locations in order that we may transmit formal legal demands and notices > > with detailed information with regard to the claims and identifying the > > documents at issue. As you should be aware, under US federal copyright > > law, it is your legal obligation to provide contact information for a > > designated DMCA agent - this is our second request. > > Sincerely, > > Evan N. Spiegel > > > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > EVAN N. SPIEGEL, ESQ. > > LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION > > ATTORNEYS AT LAW > > 2049 CENTURY PARK EAST, SUITE 2400 > > LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90067-2906 > > TELEPHONE: (310) 556-3501 > > FACSIMILE: (310) 556-3615 > > www.LavelySinger.com > > E-MAIL: email@example.com > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > > -----Original Message----- > From: Wikileaks Legal [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] > Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 12:01 PM > To: Evan Spiegel > Cc: Wikileaks; email@example.com > Subject: Re: Legal Notice & Demands > > Dear Mr Spiegel, > > Thank you for your part answer. > > We receive many notices from different jurisdictions. We ask that > you as a matter of efficiency and politeness read carefully our > responses. We asked that you provide a list of the documents concerned > and the client or clients represented. We will then provide you > with the legal contact details of the most appropriate counsel from > our pool. > > Failure to provide the information requested in a timely manner may > introduce additional delays and processing costs. Our counsel may > claim these costs from your client should the matter proceed. > > I have asked one of our DCMA counsel to follow up on the DCMA > the specific DMCA technicalities you mention which may have been > introduced when we went from a single counsel to a pool. > > In the mean time, we note that your client(s) have and have always > had an automatic public right of reply to any material made available > through any Wikileaks website. > > Best wishes, > K Lim. > On Wed, Jan 16, 2008 at 08:27:09PM +0000, Evan Spiegel wrote: > > Dear Wikileaks: > > Your continued failure and refusal to provide designated DMCA agent > contact information, despite request from counsel and our statement of > location/jurisdiction, is now documented and will be included in our > evidence exhibits in our complaint and application with the court for an > injunction against wikileaks. > > As a result of your failure and continued refusal to comply with the > requirements of the copyright act, you have thus waived the safe-harbor > provisions therein and will be held liable for copyright infringement. > You have no legal right to demand advance knowledge of the name of our > client and the documents at issue -- that is the information that is to > be and will be included in a DMCA notice and demand letter. The > copyright act DMCA requirements are quite clear. > > Your site promotes, encourages and facilitates the publication and > distribution of stolen, illegally and/or tortiously obtained corporate > records and private records of third-party consumers, including that of > my client and its consumers. In furtherance thereof, you hide your > identity and refuse to provide legal contact information. Accordingly, > we have been instructed to proceed with an action against you in federal > court in California. > > This is your final warning -- if you desire to resolve this matter > without the necessity of litigation, your counsel may contact the > undersigned within twenty-four hours. > > You act at your own peril. > > Govern yourselves accordingly. > > Nothing contained herein is intended as, nor should it be deemed to > constitute, a waiver or relinquishment of any of our client's rights or > remedies, whether legal or equitable, all of which are hereby expressly > reserved. > > Sincerely, > Evan N. Spiegel > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > EVAN N. SPIEGEL, ESQ. > LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION > ATTORNEYS AT LAW > 2049 CENTURY PARK EAST, SUITE 2400 > LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90067-2906 > TELEPHONE: (310) 556-3501 > FACSIMILE: (310) 556-3615 > www.LavelySinger.com > E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org > ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > > THIS MESSAGE IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE USE OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY TO > WHICH IT IS ADDRESSED, AND MAY CONTAIN INFORMATION THAT IS PRIVILEGED, > CONFIDENTIAL AND EXEMPT FROM DISCLOSURE UNDER APPLICABLE LAW AND MAY NOT > BE PUBLISHED OR DISSEMINATED IN WHOLE OR IN PART. IF THE READER OF THIS > MESSAGE IS NOT THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, OR THE EMPLOYEE OR AGENT > RESPONSIBLE FOR DELIVERING THE MESSAGE TO THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, YOU > ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED THAT ANY DISCLOSURE, COPYING, DISTRIBUTION OR THE > TAKING OF ANY ACTION IN RELIANCE ON THE CONTENTS OF THIS COMMUNICATION > IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS COMMUNICATION IN > ERROR, PLEASE NOTIFY THE LAW OFFICES OF LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL > CORPORATION IMMEDIATELY BY TELEPHONE (310-556-3501) OR E-MAIL (REPLY TO > SENDER'S ADDRESS), AND THEN DESTROY ALL COPIES OF THIS COMMUNICATION AND > ANY ATTACHED FILES. THANK YOU. > > Dear Mr. Spiegal, Your opinions are baseless and entirely rejected. Please confine yourself to the facts in any future correspondence and keep your tone civil. Wikileaks is an international in scope. You have made vague references to several different national jurisdictions, but extremely oddly, refuse to name your client or any matter relevant to us, including the names of any documents you object to. Under the circumstances we feel you may not be acting in good faith. Your odd refusal to provide even the most basic information makes it appear that you are trying to set up some obscure provision in DCMA law and have little interest in resolving what you claim to be the issue at hand when given an opportunity to do so. Infact you have provided us with no information for us to ascertain that we have any involvement whatsoever with your concealed client. As a organization for justice and the upholding of first amendment rights we are somewhat of a cause celibre amongst lawyers and are able to maintain a pool of high first rate councel to respond to requests, each of which specializes in some juristiction or area of law. Refusal to identify your client and the documents concerned makes this assignment difficult. Are you now claiming something in relation to the DCMA? In California? Is this your primary claim? Please be clear. Best wishes, K. Kim. ----- End forwarded message -----