WikiLeaks 'cannot survive' further losses: Assange

11th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the besieged whistleblower website "cannot survive" if it continues to haemorrhage money, in an interview broadcast in France on Tuesday.

Assange, who has enraged the United States by leaking US diplomatic cables that embarrassed world leaders, has said his site has been losing almost half a million euros (650,000 dollars) a week since those leaks began.

"We cannot survive the way things are going," he told the French radio station Europe 1, complaining that the organisation's ability to garner online donations has been blocked.

But he vowed WikiLeaks would fight back. In a separate interview with France Info radio, he said it aimed to continue leaking documents.

Assange was speaking from Britain, where he is on bail facing possible extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual assault. The latest court hearing in the case was due later Tuesday.

The WikiLeaks website was blocked after it began leaking its flood of cables, but soon sprang up again in various countries.

"The organisation is being attacked but it is growing quite quickly," Assange told Europe 1.

In an interview published Monday in Swiss newspapers, Assange said WikiLeaks had been losing the equivalenmt of around 480,000 euros per week since it started publishing the diplomatic cables.

"To continue our business, we would need to find a way or other to get this money back," he said.

He did not explain exactly how WikiLeaks was losing so much money with the website, but several banks or payment systems have reportedly stopped doing business with it.

"I would say that the pressure reinforces my determination," he said in the Swiss interview. "But from a financial point of view, it's another matter."

Assange said in a December interview in Britain's Sunday Times that financial difficulties had pushed him to sign more than one million pounds (1.2 million euros, 1.55 million dollars) in deals for his autobiography.

He denied having already received this sum, saying it was subject to the success of his book.

© 2011 AFP

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