WikiLeaks ceases publishing to fight 'financial blockade' as funds dwindle

WikiLeaks ceases publishing to fight 'financial blockade' as funds dwindle

Whistleblowing Web site WikiLeaks has suspended publication to concentrate on fighting the 'financial blockade' imposed by Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others.

At a press conference, the site's founder, Julian Assange, claimed that 95% of revenues have been cut off because of the decision of firms, including Bank of America and Western Union, to block donations.

The blockade has seen donations fall from around EUR100,000 a month in 2010 to just EUR6000 a month this year, costing WikiLeaks up to EUR50 million.

The organisation has "commenced pre-litigation action against the blockade in Iceland, Denmark, the UK, Brussels, the United States and Australia," says a statement.

In addition "we have lodged an anti-trust complaint at the European Commission and expect a decision by mid-November as to whether the European Competition Authority will open a full investigation into the wrongdoing of Visa and MasterCard."

At the press conference Assanage said the decision to drop publication comes because if the current situation persists WikiLeaks will not be able to continue into the new year.

He accused Visa, MasterCard and PayPal of being agents of a right wing political grouping in the US and insisted that "a handful of US finance companies cannot be allowed to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket".

Although major donation routes are cut off, Assanage said money can still be sent using Bitcoin, SMS payments, some bank-to-bank transfers, cheques and cash.

Meanwhile, asked about the Bank of America files understood to have been taken by a former WikiLeaks spokesman, Assange said he was not hopeful of retrieving the information although he did indicate that he is in possession of information on other financial institutions.

At the press conference, Assange listed digital money outfit UKash as one of several alternative payments option recently added for donations. However, the company tells Finextra that while it was approached by WikiLeaks around two weeks ago, it has yet to make a decision on whether to enable donations.

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