The international pressure on Julian Assange increased today after the banking arm of the Swiss post office announced that it had closed the WikiLeaks founder’s account because he had given “false information”.
“PostFinance has ended its business relationship with … Julian Paul Assange,” the bank said in a statement.
“The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process.”
It said that although Assange had given his residence as an undisclosed address in Geneva, he could offer no proof of being a Swiss resident.
WikiLeaks had advertised the PostFinance account details online to “donate directly to the Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks Staff Defence Fund,” giving an account name of “Assange Julian Paul, Geneve”.
A spokesman for the bank told the Associated Press the account was closed this afternoon, but added that there would be “no criminal consequences” for misleading authorities.
“That’s his money, he will get his money back,” he said. “We just close the account and that’s it.”
PostFinance is the latest institution to sever its ties with Assange and WikiLeaks. Last week, Amazon.com withdrew its hosting of WikiLeaks’ cables site and the WikiLeaks.org domain was taken offline by Everydns.net. On Saturday, PayPal, which is owned by the auction website eBay, froze WikiLeaks’ account, saying it was being used for “illegal” activity.
It was also reported this afternoon that Scotland Yard had received the paperwork required to arrest Assange over allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.
But the Metropolitan police declined to comment on the claim, attributed by Press Association to unnamed sources.
Swedish prosecutors have sent an international arrest warrant to the Met, seeking the extradition of Assange for questioning on allegations – which he strongly denies – of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.
Jennifer Robinson, one of his lawyers, said his legal team had heard nothing from the police to suggest that their client’s arrest was imminent.
Assange, who is staying in Britain, has come under criticism from politicians in the US and around the world after his site started publishing excerpts from a cache of more than 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables last week.
Another of Assange’s lawyers, Mark Stephens, yesterday denounced the extradition warrant as a “political stunt” and said his client would fight deportation to Sweden on the grounds that it could lead to him being handed over to the US, where senior politicians have called for him to be executed – Guardian