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'Bug' found in Assange embassy

A hidden microphone has been found inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living for the past year, the country's foreign minister has said.

Ricardo Patino said the microphone was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the UK, Ana Alban, although there was no information about who was responsible.

The embassy made no comment on the day Assange celebrated his 42nd birthday.

Mr Patino said the device was discovered during a brief visit he made to London last month when he met Mr Assange and held talks with Foreign Secretary William Hague.

"We regret to inform you that in our embassy in London we have found a hidden microphone," Mr Patino told a news conference in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

"I didn't denounce this at the time because we didn't want the theme of our visit to London to be confused with this matter. Furthermore, we first wanted to ascertain with precision what could be the origin of this interception device in the office of our ambassador."

Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador after suddenly arriving at the embassy as part of his attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about sex assault allegations against two women - allegations he denies.

He fears that if he travels to Sweden he will be sent to the US and face charges over the publication of sensitive information by WikiLeaks.

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