Former Julius Baer banker Rudolf Elmer, accused of breaching Swiss banking secrecy laws by handing over confidential data about offshore clients to WikiLeaks, collapsed shortly after the court case started.

The trial has been suspended. A spokesman for the court said it was unclear when the trial would resume.

Elmer has been under investigation since 2011 for allegedly giving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two compact discs during a news conference in London.

Elmer initially said that they contained confidential data on about 2,000 offshore banking clients, however, yesterday he told the court they were empty.

He is also accused of attempting to share confidential client data to the German finance ministry in 2009, a charge he denies.

He could face up to four-and-a-half years in jail if found guilty.

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