WikiLeaks publishes 'secret draft' of world trade agreement

WikiLeaks has published what it calls "the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement Financial Services Annex," apparently covering 50 countries and most of the world's trade in services.

Deal among 50 countries would help prevent added regulation of financial services, website says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London: his Swedish lawyer says the court's decision will be appealed. Meantime, he stays in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, surrounded by police. (Associated Press)

WikiLeaks has published what it calls "the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex," apparently covering 50 countries and most of the world's trade in services.

"The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multinationals — mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt — into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers," the website says in a statement.

The draft deal is seen as a way to prevent more regulation of financial services, despite calls for tighter regulatory measures that followed the 2007-08 world financial crisis. That market meltdown set the world's biggest banks up against critics who said governments needed to rein them in.

Canada is among the countries named as being partner to the negotiations. The last round of TISA talks took place April 28 to May 2 in Geneva.

WikiLeaks also alleged in its statement that the U.S. is "particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow" and that this would include personal and financial data.

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange promised the release of a massive cache of documents Thursday, involving 50 countries, including Canada.

Speaking with reporters Wednesday in London, where he has taken refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, Assange also said he plans to mount a new legal challenge to the Swedish sexual assault allegations he is facing.

During his teleconference, he also urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to end a four-year-long grand jury investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks.

"National security reporters are required by their profession to have intimate interactions in order to assess and verify and investigate the nature of the material that they are dealing with," he said. "So I call on Eric Holder today to immediately drop the ongoing national security investigation against WikiLeaks or resign."

With files from Reuters

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