Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2019. 8:32 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Australian national Julian Assange, 47, has apparently worn out his welcome with no less than four countries – Ecuador, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom – after six years on the run in the former’s London embassy.
But an intriguing article from Counterpunch columnist Denis Rogatyuk offers what it says is the real reason that Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, now faces extradition to the U.S. and possibly Sweden – and it involves a tale of revenge that stretches as far as Belize.
Rogatyuk writes that Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno “has been working towards expelling Assange from the embassy since at least December 2018, a chain of events in the last several months shows a clear pattern of increasing political instability, revelations of a mass corruption of Moreno’s family, a further turn towards neoliberal economic reforms with the implementation of the IMF deal and the gradual and total embrace and support for the US foreign policy in the region.”
The WikiLeaks organization, says Rogatyuk, decided to republish details of Moreno’s use of offshore bank accounts in Panama tied to the INA Investment Corporation, which is described as “a shell company originally founded in Belize (a notable tax haven) by Edwin Moreno Garcés, the brother of the current President.”
Its Panama accounts hosted monies from Chinese state-owned corporation Sinohydro, which is expected to be contracted to build two major hydroelectric power plants in Ecuador. Moreno associate Xavier Macias lobbied for one of the projects valued at $2.8 billion.
The funds were used for housing in Spain and luxury items for President Moreno and his family during his time as special envoy for disability rights at the United Nations. The matter is being investigated in Ecuador with a public hearing scheduled for April 1.
Former president Rafael Correa, who first authorized Julian Assange’s asylum back in 2012, accused his successor of possibly succeeding in damaging both Assange’s life and the country’s international credibility.
According to the BBC, Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped, though it is being considered for re-opening. At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court.
He now faces US federal conspiracy charges with up to five years in prison related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets.
The UK will decide whether to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Department for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases.
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