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Assange’s Planned Legal Departure From UK in 2017 Foiled by Embassy’s Security Chief

Thursday 16 April 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://sputniknews.com/uk/202004151078968237-assanges-planned-escape-from-uk-in-2017-foiled-by-embassys-security-chief---journalist/

Assange’s Planned Legal Departure From UK in 2017 Foiled by Embassy’s Security Chief

Alex McNaughton

17:07 GMT 15.04.2020(updated 14:45 GMT 16.04.2020)

LONDON (Sputnik) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s plan to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in December 2017 was derailed by Undercover Global, the Spanish company that was in charge of the embassy’s security but was actually spying on the whistleblower for the United States, court case materials obtained by Sputnik showed.

David Morales, the head of Undercover Global, is currently the lead defendant in the case opened in Spain over illegal wiretapping of Assange in the embassy. According to the judicial investigation, the company’s employees were collecting information about the whistleblower, his lawyers, assistants and visitors and passing it to the US and Ecuadorian intelligence services. Morales is charged with crimes against privacy, violating attorney-client confidentiality, money laundering, and bribery.

Ecuadorean embassy in London
© Sputnik /
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Case files showed that a database made by Undercover Global employees, which contained information on all activities of a “Hotel” (the embassy) and a “guest” (Assange), also included data on a visit of Rommy Vallejo, the head of the Ecuadorian National Intelligence Secretariat (SENAIN). Morales shared this data with his “American client.”

Vallejo visited the Ecuadorian embassy on 21 December 2017. According to Assange’s lawyer in Spain, Aitor Martinez, this meeting was linked to the possibility of leaving the UK for another country with an Ecuadorean diplomatic passport.

“Six or seven people, at most, participated in developing the operation. Julian was acting paranoid because he suspected that UC Global was spying on him. He took me to the bathroom, turned the water on, and so we were talking. No one believed him, but he was absolutely right”, Martinez says.

The lawyer said that Bolivia, Venezuela, Greece, Serbia, Belgium and China were on the list of possible countries where Assange could head to after leaving the embassy under immunities. Meanwhile, Martinez noted that the WikiLeaks head refused to seek asylum in Russia fearing that this could become an additional argument for supporters of a conspiracy theory seeing him as a “Russian agent.”

According to Martinez, Vallejo’s visit was a key stage of the planned legal departure, as they were set to discuss details of the operation, including the way Assange was supposed to get out of the embassy, where a car would be waiting for him.

E-mail correspondence attached to case files shows that Morales received a detailed report on Vallejo’s visit, including audio and videotapes, the same night on 21 December. The very next day, the United States sent an international arrest warrant for Assange to London.

“The plan was thwarted because of the alleged notification, which the UC Global chief sent to his contacts in Las Vegas Sands, the casino corporation owned by Sheldon Adelson, a sponsor of [US President] Donald Trump presidential campaign, who is also in [US State Secretary] Mike Pompeo’s close circle”, the article said.

However, during hearings in a Spanish court, Morales refuted allegations and said that he had not passed any tapes to the US intelligence services.

Martinez criticised the UK justice system for continuing to deny his client’s release on bail amid COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining unchanged the schedule of public hearings, which are due to resume on 18 May.

“Julian is absolutely isolated in his cell for 23 and a half hours; he cannot prepare any legal action since his lawyers cannot visit him. What is his right to defense? Everything is complete nonsense”, he said.

Assange is currently being sought by the United States for extradition to face multiple charges of espionage following the 2010 leak of classified materials relating to military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If convicted in the United States, Assange could face a prison term of up to 170 years. The ongoing initial court hearing will likely continue for the rest of the week, with a second hearing set for May.