December 19, 2010

Bank Of America Halts WikiLeaks Payment Services

Bank of America joined several other major financial institutions as it stopped handling payments for WikiLeaks.

The bank said it acted because "WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments".

WikiLeaks urged its supporters to stop doing business with Bank of America in response, which is one of the world's largest banks.

MasterCard, PayPal and other companies cut off WikiLeaks payments as well.

The financial institutions acted after WikiLeaks began publishing thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, which has caused tensions between Washington and some of its allies.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was freed from jail by bail earlier this week in the U.K. while facing extradition proceedings to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.

Assange, 39, dismissed the claims as part of a "smear" campaign.

He said he was worried about an attempt to extradite him to the U.S., adding that Washington was conducting an "aggressive" and "illegal" investigation into him and the website.

Bank of America said in a statement that it would "not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks."

WikiLeaks responded in a message on Twitter by urging "all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America."

The website called for businesses to "place your funds somewhere safer."

WikiLeaks recently said it will soon release documents that point to "unethical practices" at some U.S. banks.

There has been speculation that Bank of America could be one of those institutions mentioned in the U.S. diplomatic cables.


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