PostFinance, the Swiss bank has closed the bank account of Julian Assange the Wikileaks founder. The funding of Wikileaks is the American Government’s latest line of attack against the website. “Follow the money” is the oldest line of attack from governments against those with alternative opinions.
Transfer to a Swiss bank was one of the methods listed on the Wikileaks websites as a method of donating to Wikileaks.
Here is the Swiss banks statement as reported today in the Australian newspaper “The Herald Sun”.
“PostFinance has ended its business relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Paul Assange. The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process,”
The closed account included Assange’s defense fund and personal assets worth €31,000 ($42,000)
“The technicality used to seize the defence fund was that Mr. Assange, as a homeless refugee attempting to gain residency in Switzerland, had used his lawyers address in Geneva for the bank’s correspondence,”
Using a Swiss lawyer’s address when banking in Switzerland is quite a routine matter that many thousands of people do. The reason for this is that many Swiss banks require “residency” in Switzerland. In reality, that means a mailing address. Many Swiss lawyers will discreetly forward bank mail to clients for an annual fee.
However, the Swiss do not like controversy, and dislike their banking system being used by those with a negative high profile. They do not want negative publicity. Of course, when pressured, they pulled the plug.
They followed hot on the heels of Paypal who also froze the Wikileaks donation account. Paypal as a US company will immediately do the bidding of the US government. In fact, freezing accounts is something Paypal is quite good at. They routinely freeze the accounts of hundreds of eBayers and other online traders every day, so freezing the Wikileaks account was a routine matter for them. Julian Assange is unlikely to see any money that was in Paypal again.
The Wikileaks site also lists an Icelandic account at Landsbanki Islands bank in Iceland. Landsbanki Islands? Obviously they never heard that money in Landsbanki also has a habit of doing a credible impersonation of Houdini. The investors in Landsbanki Guernsey found this out to their cost in 2008. They still have 33% of their money owed to them because the corrupt Icelandic government nationalised the previous incarnation of Landsbanki and stuffed the international subsidiaries. Iceland is NOT a place that has a good record of financial housekeeping. The current Landsbanki bank is known as “New Landsbanki” since the government there stole all the assets of the old one to create the new one.
Amazon Web Services who once hosted Wikileaks cut them off at the source too.
Amazon.com has taken down the Wikileaks web site under what appears to be pressure from the U.S. government. Senator Lieberman issued a statement saying that Amazon.com has informed his staff that the company has ceased hosting Wikileaks.
Wikileaks will no doubt continue to keep moving internet hosts and countries, and their donation methods will no doubt also need to change often too. The US Government is a rather big dog to be chased by. They have unlimited money and are quite influential across much of the world.