Sun, Dec 19, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Bank of America joins in action against WikiLeaks

Reuters and AFP, WASHINGTON and NEW YORK

Bank of America was quoted as saying late on Friday that it was joining other financial institutions in declining to process payments to WikiLeaks, which has angered US authorities with the mass release of US diplomatic cables.

“Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks,” the bank said in a statement, quoted by McClatchy Newspapers.

No one at Bank of America was immediately available to comment.

WikiLeaks has said it will release documents early next year that will point to “unethical practices” at a major US bank, widely thought to be Bank of America.

Several companies have ended services to WikiLeaks after the Web site teamed up with major newspapers to publish thousands of secret US diplomatic cables that have caused tension between Washington and some of its allies.

“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments,” the Bank of America statement added.

ATTACKS

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange on Friday said his organization had come under attack from banks, as he vowed to release damaging leaks about them.

“We have been attacked, primarily not by government ... although things are heating up now, but by banks, banks from Dubai, banks from Switzerland, banks from the US, banks from the UK, so yes of course we are continuing to release material about banks,” he told CNBC television.

In an interview published last month by Forbes magazine, Assange claimed a fresh “megaleak” will target a major US bank “early next year.”

Assange said the bank leak would “give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate -investigations and reforms, I presume.”

The controversial Australian said that he was ready to unleash tens of thousands of documents that could “take down a bank or two.”

The main target is thought to be Bank of America, based on comments last year from Assange.

After releasing thousands of confidential diplomatic cables Assange has been arrested for sexual assault and seen at least one bank account in Switzerland frozen.

After Bank of America’s announcement, WikiLeaks issued a message on Twitter urging its supporters to leave the bank.

“We ask that all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America,” it said on the social networking medium.

“Does your business do business with Bank of America? Our advice is to place your funds somewhere safer,” WikiLeaks said in a subsequent tweet.

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