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Swiss Bank Freezes WikiLeaks Defense Fund Account

The banking arm of the Swiss Post Office has cut its ties with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, declaring that he gave false information regarding his place of residence when he opened the account.

Julian Assange
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images
Julian Assange

WikiLeaks has promoted the account with PostFinancebank as a way to "donate directly to the Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks Staff Defence Fund.”

Earlier today, it seemed as if PostFinance was merely at an early stage of investigating Assange’s ccount.

"We have to find out if Julian Assange really does live in Geneva. In the process of checking we did not find his name in Geneva," PostFinance spokesman Marc Andrey told the news service AFP, confirming a report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

But now PostFinance has officially shut down the account, according to a notice on its website. From Post Finance:

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. Assange entered Geneva as his domicile. Upon inspection, this information was found to be incorrect. Assange cannot provide proof of residence in Switzerland and thus does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship with PostFinance. For this reason, PostFinance is entitled to close his account. If there is any indication that the information provided by an account holder may not comply with the detailed valid provisions, PostFinance investigates the circumstances in detail and draws the appropriate conclusions.

WikiLeaks issued its own press release in response (hat tip Business Insider):

PRESS RELEASE

Tue 7 Dec 15.55 GMT

Julian Assange Defense Fund frozen.

The Swiss Bank Post Finance today issues a press release stating that it had frozen Julian Assange's defense fund and personal assets (31K EUR) after reviewing him as a "high profile" individual.

The technicality used to seize the defense 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.

Late last week, the internet payment giant PayPal, froze 60Keur of donations to the German charity the Wau Holland Foundation, which were targeted to promote the sharing of knowledge via WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks and Julian have lost 100Keur in assets this week.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Cablegate exposure is how it is throwing into relief the power dynamics between supposedly independent states like Switzerland, Sweden and Australia.

WikiLeaks also has public bank accounts in Iceland (preferred) and Germany.

Please help cover our expenditures while we fight to get our assets back.

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