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WikiLeaks's Assange to meet police: lawyer

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's lawyer in the U.K. says Assange is arranging to meet with police voluntarily.

Swiss bank shuts account of whistleblowing website's founder

The U.K. lawyer for the enigmatic founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, says his client is preparing to meet with police.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is arranging to meet with the police, according to his U.K. lawyer. ((Lennart Preiss/Associated Press))

Mark Stephens told BBC television that he and his client "are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question-and-answer that's needed."

A European arrest warrant for the Australian-born fugitive behind the controversial whistleblowing website reached Scotland Yard on Monday.

Assange, who is reportedly in hiding in Britain, is wanted by Swedish prosecutors in connection with allegations of rape and sexual molestation involving two women. He has rejected the accusations as part of a smear campaign against him.

WikiLeaks has so far released hundreds of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and correspondences to selected media, embarrassing world leaders and prompting allegations that their publication could compromise some nations' security.

The site is believed to possess as many as 250,000 such cables and similar documents.

Nothing stopping Assange from returning to Australia

No details were offered about when police and Assange might sit down for questioning about the allegations. Meanwhile, the Swiss post office's financial arm, Postfinance, cut off Assange's bank account on Monday, reasoning that the "Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process."

An undetermined amount of money will be returned to Assange, Postfinance spokesman Alex Josty told The Associated Press.

"That's his money; he will get his money back," Josty said. "We just close the account."

The Swiss account has been a key fundraising tool to keep WikiLeaks online and had euro 31,000 ($41,400 Cdn) in it, according to The Associated Press, citing Assange's law firm.

Australia's attorney-general, Robert McClelland, has said there is nothing barring Assange from returning home, and he is "entitled" to obtaining consular assistance.

"Mr. Assange, like every Australian citizen, has rights, and nothing is stopping him from coming home to Australia," McClelland said, according to his spokesman.

But McClelland also cautioned that Australian authorities would be obligated to co-operate with the international investigations into Assange.

With files from The Associated Press

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