PostFinance, the banking arm of SwissPost, said it closed WikiLeaks.org founder Julian Assange’s bank account saying he doesn’t qualify to be a client.
Assange “provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process,” PostFinance said today in a statement on its website. Assange, 39, an Australian citizen, gave Geneva as his place of residence, the statement said. As he cannot prove that he lives in Switzerland, he “does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship,” it said.
WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website, is releasing about 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables, and on Dec. 3 began directing readers to the Swiss domain WikiLeaks.ch rather than WikiLeaks.org after electronic attacks on the site, it said on a Twitter feed after its U.S. service was withdrawn.
“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,” WikiLeaks said today in a Twitter feed. The account contained 31,000 euros ($41,134), including some personal assets of Assange, WikiLeaks said.
Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer in the U.K., couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.