Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ecuador has spent $5 million housing Julian Assange

Ecuador has spent $5 million housing Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has spent nearly six years at Ecuador's London embassy.

The WikiLeaks founder has effectively lived under house arrest in the London building for almost five years, after Britain denied his appeal for extradition to Sweden in 2012.

After his appeal was denied, he took up asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Mr Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been at the embassy since June 2012 to avoid sexual offences charges and potential extradition to the United States following leaks by the website about U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sweden dropped its investigation previous year, but British authorities say they still want to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions. The Ecuadorian embassy was warned of Assange's behavior in 2014 by a surveillance company that was hired to film Assange's interaction with visitors.

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Democrats accused the Australian of collaborating with the Russian government when his site leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

The report claims that the South American nation allocated around $66,000 per month to support "Operation Hotel", a covert project that covered both the security costs associated with Assange's asylum as well as the costs of monitoring the activist's various personal visits.

Assange has been less warmly received by the current president, Lenin Moreno, who has called him a "problem".

The Guardian also reported that, from within, Assange penetrated the embassy's own internal networks, giving him access to Ecuadorian diplomatic communications.

Mr Assange has been visited by people including lawyers, U.S. rights campaigner Jesse Jackson, the former Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson and Brexit-backing United Kingdom politician Nigel Farage during his time inside the embassy.

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