WikiLeaks opens new payment gateway as reserve funds run dry
18 July 2012 | 4541 views | 0
Whistle-blowing Website WikiLeaks has opened a new payment gateway for Visa and MasterCard donations through the French Carte Bleue system as it bids to raise $1 million or face closure in the next few months.
The banking blockade against WikiLeaks followed the publication by the site of sensitive US diplomatic cables and has so far choked off more than 95% of donations, costing the organisation in excess of $20 million.
A new report by the Wau Holland Foundation estimates that for the year 2011, the blockade resulted in WikiLeaks' income falling to just 21% of its operating costs.
The outfit has been forced to run on its cash reserves, which have diminished from EUR800,000 at the end of December 2010, to less than EUR100,000 at the end of June 2012. The site ceased publication in October in an effort to conserve cash, but says that its reserve funds will expire within a few months.
The group says: "In order to effectively continue its mission, WikiLeaks must raise a minimum of EUR 1 million immediately."
In its latest attempt to dodge the squeeze on donations, the French non-profit FDNN (Fund for the Defense of Net Neutrality) has set up a Carte Bleue account for WikiLeaks. The group is urging supporters to make use of the gateway before Visa and MasterCard attempts to shut it down.
WikiLeaks is pursuing several actions against the blockade. Last week, an Icelandic court ordered local card acquiring outfit Valitor to reopen a gateway to WikiLeaks by 26 July 2012, or face a fine of ISK800,000 daily.
A European Commission preliminary investigation into the blockade was also started in July 2011. A Commission decision on whether to pursue the financial services companies involved is expected before the end of August.