Pressure mounts on WikiLeaks and Assange

Reports say Swiss Post is investigating whether to close the Postfinance bank account opened by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

This content was published on December 5, 2010 - 10:30 and agencies

A spokesman for the office told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper that the Post was checking to confirm whether Assange has a Swiss residence as he claimed when he opened the account last month.

The Post’s Marc Andrey told the newspaper that a foreigner holding a Postfinance account must either reside in Switzerland, near the Swiss border or have Swiss business dealings or own Swiss property.

If Assange’s Swiss account is closed, it would be another blow to the financial survival of Wikileaks, which saw PayPal on Friday cut the account used for donations to the whistle-blowing site.

The United States ambassador to Switzerland, Donald Beyer, has also entered the Wikileaks debate. He has warned the Swiss government against granting Assange asylum, which the Australian founder of Wikileaks has said he was considering requesting.

“Switzerland should very carefully consider whether to provide shelter to someone who is on the run from the law,” Beyer told the newspaper Sonntag. The ambassador referred to the arrest warrant for Assange issued by Interpol. He is being sought in Sweden on rape charges.

In an interview with another newspaper, the SonntagsZeitung, Beyer said he had told Swiss government representatives what to expect from the more than 250 cables - held by Wikileaks – sent from the American embassy in Bern to Washington.

Beyer said he assured the Swiss government that US-Swiss relations would remain friendly. “Both sides are aware of how close Switzerland and the US are.”

Meanwhile, Swiss supporters of Wikileaks have been battling to keep the domain online. After the site was blocked on Friday, the Swiss Pirate Party migrated the entries to other servers.

On Sunday, the party’s Denis Simonet said that the Wikileaks server in France had been switched off for unknown reasons. “We’re now pointing the domain to another address,” he said.

The US domain name provider, EveryDNS, withdrew its service to on Thursday, fearing that a series of hacker attacks could threaten the rest of its network.

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