Key accusations in the case against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who faces up to 175 years in prison if extradited to the US, are reportedly based on testimony from a convicted fraudster who admitted to media he was lying.
Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, an Icelandic citizen and former WikiLeaks volunteer who became an FBI informant for $5,000, has admitted to Icelandic newspaper Stundin that he fabricated important parts of the accusations in the indictment.
In an article published on Saturday, Stundin details several parts of his testimony that he now denies, claiming that Assange never instructed him to carry out any hacking.
The newspaper points out that even though a court in London has refused to extradite Assange to the US on humanitarian grounds, it still sided with the US when it came to claims based on Thordarson’s now-denied testimony. For instance, the ruling says that “Mr. Assange and Teenager failed a joint attempt to decrypt a file stolen from a ‘NATO country 1’ bank,” where “NATO country 1” is believed to refer to Iceland, while “Teenager” referred to Thordarson himself.
However, he now reportedly claims that the file in question can’t exactly be considered “stolen” since it was assumed to have been distributed and leaked by whistleblowers inside the bank and many people online were attempting to decrypt it at the time. That’s because it allegedly contained information about defaulted loans provided by Icelandic Landsbanki, the fall of which in 2008 led to a major economic crisis in the country.