WikiLeaks Sees Credit Card Donations Return After Court RulingOmar R. Valdimarsson
Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks can again accept credit card donations today after Valitor hf, the Icelandic partner of MasterCard Inc. and Visa Europe Ltd., began processing payments after losing a court case.
Valitor was ordered by Iceland’s Supreme Court on April 24 to begin processing WikiLeaks payments within 15 days or face daily fines amounting to 800,000 kronur ($6,800), according to the ruling. The company was sued by WikiLeaks’s payment services provider, Reykjavik, Iceland-based DataCell, which has also lodged complaints against Visa and MasterCard with the European Commission.
Visa Europe, which runs the largest card network in the European Union, and MasterCard in December 2010 blocked WikiLeaks from using their networks to collect funds from donors. DataCell in 2011 started using an alternative-payment gateway to process money sent through MasterCard and Visa Europe. WikiLeaks, led by Julian Assange, publishes secret documents, including confidential U.S. diplomatic and military information.
“DataCell can start processing WikiLeaks payments as early as today,” Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, a lawyer representing DataCell and WikiLeaks, said in a telephone interview. “Visa Europe has also confirmed to us in writing that they will make no attempt to prevent the payments from being routed to WikiLeaks. Today is a good day for the freedom of expression.”