WikiLeaks has received sensitive information on more than 2,000 people in various firms and multinationals across the world, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, said at a press conference in London on Monday.
Assange promised "full disclosure" once the information had been vetted, BBC News reports. His team will pore through the details of the two disks handed to him by Rudolf Elmer, a former Swiss banker fired from Swiss bank Julius Baer in 2002.
Al Jazeera reports the information "includes details on politicians, multinational companies and financial institutions from the United States, Europe and Asia, all secretly avoiding paying tax."
Elmer said at the press conference: "I am against the system. I know how the system works and I know the day-to-day business. From that point of view, I wanted to let society know what I know. It is damaging our society."
It is uncertain how long it will take to verify the data on the disks. Assange said the time taken would depend on how much information is included and who will do the vetting. He hinted he may enlist the help of financial news journalists.
The source for this data has a history of whistle-blowing. Elmer worked at Julius Baer for 10 years, but says he lost his job in December 2002 after telling management that the bank was helping some clients engage in criminal tax evasion, AOL News reports.
Six years after being fired from Julius Baer, he contacted WikiLeaks and supplied the site with "hundreds of documents allegedly revealing money laundering and tax evasion by several Julius Baer clients," AOL reports.
A statement from the bank refutes Elmer's allegations: "Evidently disgruntled and frustrated about unfulfilled career aspirations, Mr. Elmer exhibited behaviour that was detrimental and unacceptable for the Bank, which led to termination of the employment relationship," the bank said in a statement sent to BBC News.
"After his demands (including financial compensation) in connection with the dismissal could not be satisfied, Mr. Elmer embarked in 2004 on a personal intimidation campaign and vendetta against Julius Baer," the statement went on to say.
Assange made a rare public appearance Monday after December's dizzying ordeal. Bailed by a British court and under house arrest in the UK, the face of WikiLeaks fears an "illegal investigation" against him. He said last month: "I would say that there is a very aggressive investigation, that a lot of face has been lost by some people, and some people have careers to make by pursuing famous cases, but that is actually something that needs monitoring.”