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Assange to write memoirs to cover legal costs

Facing accusations of sex crimes in Sweden and with his whistle-blowing website under attack, Julian Assange has told a British newspaper he must write a money-earning autobiography to stay afloat.

A screen-shot viewed through a magnifying glass

A book about Assange and WikiLeaks is in the works

Julian Assange says he's in money trouble. Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have blocked customers from using their services to transfer donations to his whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. And now he'll have to spend more money to fight his extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual offenses. What's Assange's solution? Write a revealing autobiography.

"I don't want to write this book, but I have to," Assange is quoted as saying in the British newspaper the Sunday Times. "I have already spent 200,000 pounds (235,446 euros) on legal costs and I need to defend myself and keep WikiLeaks afloat." Assange denies the allegations against him in Sweden.

The Sunday Times reported that Assange already has a book deal worth up to 1.2 million euros with US publisher Alfred A. Knopf and Scottish publisher Canongate Books.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holds up a court document

Assange says he doesn't want to write a book but has to

'High-tech terrorist' turned author

Likely to hit that market before the Assange memoir is another tell-all book, written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, an ex-WikiLeaks staffer who had been the spokesman for WikiLeaks in Germany and the organization's second-in-command.

His book "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time at the World's Most Dangerous Website" is expected to go on sale in January. Since leaving WikiLeaks, Domscheit-Berg has founded OpenLeaks, which aims to create an online drop-box platform that any website can use to receive anonymous documents.

Assange is an Australian hacker who has used his computer skills and activism to expose secret US government documents ranging from Afghanistan war logs to diplomatic cables. The leaks have angered the US government, with Vice President Joe Biden referring to Assange as a "high-tech terrorist."

Assange and his supporters say pressure from foreign governments has led companies to stop hosting its sites and suspend donation payments. He is currently in house arrest at a supporter's home in England while he fights his extradition to Sweden.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Ben Knight

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