Washington: Interpol on Wednesday issued a global arrest warrant for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who appears to lead a mostly underground life. Having kept diplomatic establishments around the world on tenterhooks all through the week, WikiLeaks spread fear into the financial markets for the first time after letting it be known that they would release damaging material related to a big American bank sometime early next year.
Lyon, France-based Interpol said early Wednesday that it had issued an alert to all member states to arrest Assange should he be spotted. Judging by reports, Assange spends much of his time in Britain and Sweden.
39-year-old Assange, an Australian computer hacker, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over the alleged rape and molestation of two women, charges that he has denied.
In another interesting, and related, development Ecuador's left-leaning government backtracked today from offering Assange shelter in the country after making such an offer just yesterday.
Meanwhile, Bank of America shares tumbled more than three per cent Tuesday on speculation that it was the bank that Assange was alluding to when he boasted that he was ready with a fresh "megaleak" which had the potential to take down a major bank.
Assange told Forbes magazine that the bank leak would "give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume."