WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be ousted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London within “hours to days,” the group said on Twitter Thursday.
“A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within ‘hours to days,’” the group tweeted, claiming that “it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.”
In a blog post on WikiLeaks’ legal defense fund website, the group said Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno was trying to use Assange to cover up activities related to his use of an offshore tax haven that his brother set up, as revealed in the INA Papers, a leaked dossier that triggered a corruption probe into Moreno’s finances.
"The leak has sparked a congressional investigation into President Moreno for corruption. Moreno can’t be summoned for a criminal probe while he remains president. He is currently being investigated and risks impeachment," the blog post said. “President Moreno, desperate to divert public attention away from the scandal, is using the claims as a pretext to oust Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.”
Moreno has long wanted to get rid of Assange:
The New York Times reported in May 2017 that Moreno, who assumed office that month, wanted to wash his hands of the Assange issue. Assange has been living in the embassy since 2012 as he faces charges overseas.
“Mr. Moreno and his aides discussed their desire to rid themselves of Mr. Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, in exchange for concessions like debt relief from the United States,” The Times reported. “Mr. Moreno had signaled during his campaign that he would like to wash his hands of Mr. Assange.”
Assange faces sealed charges in the US:
Federal prosecutors let slip in court documents that Assange faces sealed criminal charges in the United States related to WikiLeaks’ release of secret, sensitive documents.
“The Justice Department has secretly filed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, a person familiar with the case said, a drastic escalation of the government’s yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group,” The New York Times reported last year. “Top Justice Department officials told prosecutors over the summer that they could start drafting a complaint against Mr. Assange, current and former law enforcement officials said. The charges came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned them.”