Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

Postado Mai 16, 2018

Throughout this time, Ecuador has hosted Assange in an elaborate living arrangement that reportedly involves an office at the embassy converted into a studio apartment.

Ecuador used a $5 million secret intelligence budget to employ security contractors and monitor the visitors of Julian Assange while holed up in its London embassy, according to United Kingdom media reports.

The newspaper said Ecuador employed an global security company and undercover agents to monitor his visitors, embassy staff and even the British police at the embassy in London's luxury Knightsbridge area. The snooping was initially meant to protect Assange from the risk of being taken away by British police but later became a full-blown spying operation.

The security team recorded Assange's daily activities and his interactions with embassy staff and visitors, including fellow hackers, activists and lawyers. "By penetrating the embassy's firewall, Assange was able to access and intercept the official and personal communications of staff", the paper said.

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.

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 USA military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Guardian reports that Assange has not been allowed visitors for the past month.

Sweden dropped its investigation past year, but British authorities say they still want to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions.

The WikiLeaks Twitter account disputed that claim, saying Assange "did not "hack into" embassy satellites".

Ecuador officially granted Assange citizenship in January 2018.