Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Swiss cut WikiLeaks bank account

The Swiss postal system has stripped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of a key fundraising tool

The Swiss postal system has stripped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of a key fundraising tool, accusing him of lying and immediately shutting down one of his bank accounts.

The swift action by Postfinance, the financial arm of Swiss Post, came after it determined the "Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process."

Assange had told Postfinance he lived in Geneva but could offer no proof that he was a Swiss resident, a requirement of opening such an account.

Postfinance spokesman Alex Josty said the account was closed and there would be "no criminal consequences" for misleading authorities.

"That's his money, he will get his money back," Josty said. "We just close the account and that's it."

The setback leaves Assange with only a few options for raising money for his secret-spilling site through a Swiss-Icelandic credit card processing centre and accounts in Iceland and Germany.

WikiLeaks has been under intense international scrutiny over its disclosure of a mountain of classified US diplomatic cables, after previously releasing tens of thousands of classified US military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The unprecedented disclosures have embarrassed the US and other governments worldwide and prompted US officials to pressure the WikiLeaks site and its facilitators.

A Swiss website, wikileaks.ch, has been handling much of the traffic from WikiLeaks after other internet service and online payment providers began severing ties with the organisation.

WikiLeaks' Swedish servers came under suspected attack again, the latest in a series of online computer assaults that have knocked the secret-spilling group across the web.

WikiLeaks, in a tweet to its followers, confirmed it was having difficulty with its PRQ severs but did not elaborate.

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