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Americas

Interpol issues arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder

media Julian Assange in February Reuters

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, who is wanted in Sweden for questioning over an alleged rape and molestation, charges he has denied. The warrant comes as world leaders are reeling from the site’s publication of a large number of secret US diplomatic cables.

Julian Assange, 39, has been giving media interviews. He told Forbes magazine that he has documents that could take down "a big US bank", and that the information would  “stimulate investigations and reforms” in the banking sector.

In another interview with Time magazine, Assange said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should resign because a cable appeared to indicate the US ordered diplomats to spy on foreign officials, including at the UN.

Assange, who is Australian, spends much of his time in Britain and Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on charges of rape and molestation of two women. Interpol said early Wednesday that it had issued a "Red Notice" - a call for the provisional arrest of a fugitive so that they may be extradited to the nation that issued the underlying arrest warrant - to its member states.

Ecuador had offered him residency, but President Rafael Correa took back the offer on Tuesday.

Assange is accused of raping and molesting two women, alleged crimes for which he is wanted in Sweden for questioning.

The US, meanwhile, has suspended its military's access to some US diplomatic correspondence, in a bid to stop new leaks.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, who called Assange an “anarchist”, said the State Department had temporarily suspended the Pentagon's access to some of its correspondence.

"Steps are being made [...] to correct weaknesses in the system that have become evident because of this leak," he said.

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