Julian Assange faces ‘imminent eviction’ by Ecuadorian president implicated in corruption scandal

Julian Assange
Tom Coburg

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange believes he is under imminent threat of eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. WikiLeaks states this could happen within days or even hours.

But behind this threat lies allegations of corruption around Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno. The president has accused WikiLeaks of being behind the allegations. WikiLeaks denies this, saying the president is using the the scandal as a pretext to arrest Assange.

Eviction

WikiLeaks suggests that the eviction of Assange could happen within “hours or days”. It says the UK authorities are preparing to arrest him:

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Moreno accuses WikiLeaks of exposing the alleged corruption via intercepted phone calls and images.

Warnings

In December 2018, Assange’s lawyers predicted he would be expelled from the embassy by the Ecuadorian government on a violation of a protocol:

Meanwhile, on 28 March 2019, former Ecuadorian consul Fidel Narváez warned that Assange was under threat of prosecution in Ecuador for hacking information relating to the corruption scandal. In support of this claim, he referred to allegations in an article in El Telegrafo.

Narváez commented:

It has been an exact year since the government of Lenin Moreno has isolated a quasi-prison regime to Julian Assange, who has not issued a single tweet since. The government is looking for a pretext to end Julian’s asylum and prepares the conditions for subjecting the country to historical humiliation.

The INA Papers

The main body of allegations against Moreno are found in what has been dubbed the INA Papers. The papers allege that Moreno’s brother, Edwin, created a ghost company, INA Investment Corp. As WikiLeaks explained:

The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts.

Meanwhile, former Ecuadorian foreign affairs minister Ricardo Patiño is now leading a call for Moreno to be recalled as president.

US – Ecuador deal

It transpires that the idea of Ecuador evicting Assange was raised in May 2017 when Donald Trump associate Paul Manafort visited Quito. There he discussed the matter of Assange as well as ways of easing Ecuador’s growing debt.

In December 2018, The Canary published an exclusive report from former Ecuadorian consul Narváez, detailing how claims made by the Guardian that Manafort visited Assange were false.

Charges

In November 2018, the New York Times reported that Assange had been secretly charged. As The Canary reported, if Assange ends up being prosecuted in the US, those charges could include “conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act”.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning has also recently been imprisoned for refusing to testify to the Grand Jury. This is the same Grand Jury that Assange is likely to face.

Featured image via Cancillería del Ecuador/Flickr

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